A woman with toothache holding her cheek

How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

Cavities are the most common dental issue — more than 90% of American adults have had a cavity at some point in their lives. Practicing good oral hygiene and limiting sweets are great strategies to prevent cavities, but sometimes you get them anyway. 

But just because cavities are common, it doesn’t mean they can’t cause serious problems. Cavities can lead to infections, extractions, and other oral problems if you don’t treat them in time. Frequent dental checkups are the best way to identify and treat them early. 

Many of our Grand Prairie patients wonder how they can know if they have a cavity and what to do for the most effective treatment.

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole in your tooth that develops due to decay. Cavities form when bacteria or food build up on the surface of your teeth and eat away at your enamel. Left untreated, cavities can affect deeper layers of your teeth, causing unbearable toothache, serious infections, and, eventually, tooth loss. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

The signs of a dental cavity depend on the extent of decay and the location of the damaged tooth. At first, you may not even notice any symptoms. As the damage becomes worse, you will experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain when biting 
  • Sudden toothaches
  • Visible holes or pits on the tooth
  • Black, brown, or white stains on the tooth
  • Pain when eating or drinking something sweet
  • Lingering sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages

What Do I Do If I Have the Symptoms of a Cavity

Unfortunately, a cavity is not something you can fix on your own. A dental filling requires special tools and professional expertise. If you have frequent tooth pain or lasting sensitivity while eating, it’s best to call your dentist as soon as possible so you can treat your dental cavity before it gets worse. 

Causes of Cavities

You may know how to tell if you have a cavity but still wonder what causes it. Several reasons can lead to dental cavities decaying your tooth and wearing down your enamel. Some of the most common causes of cavities include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fluoride deficiency
  • Poor brushing and flossing techniques
  • Sticky foods and beverages like sweets, soda, and cereal
  • Conditions that force acid into your mouth, such as eating disorders and acid reflux disease

Treatments for Cavities

A dentist treating a patient

If you know you have a cavity, fixing it is a relatively straightforward procedure. The dentist will remove the decayed parts of the tooth and repair them with dental fillings or crowns. Depending on the extent of damage, you may also need a root canal treatment

If you have a cavity in Grand Prairie, contact Definitive Dental for an appointment. Dr. Guirguis and his team can restore your healthy smile. Call us at (972) 646-0660 or contact us online to schedule your appointment and take your smile to new heights!

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