Do I Have a Cavity? Common Symptoms of Decay in Teeth

Do I Have a Cavity? Common Symptoms of Decay in Teeth

Tooth decay symptoms can often be difficult to spot. While most people wait for a painful toothache to develop, other warning signs may be less obvious. But the best tooth decay treatment calls for early intervention, which is why it’s crucial to recognize tooth decay symptoms as early as possible.

If you’re in-between dental checkups but have concerns about possible tooth decay/cavity sensations, here are some things to look out for:

Sensitivity to Sweet Drinks or Food

The biggest red flag for tooth decay is having a tooth that’s sensitive to anything sweet. Not necessarily candy, but rather items with sugar or artificial sweeteners in it. So, if you’re drinking sweet tea, diet soda, or coffee with your favorite creamer, and you feel a sharp jolting sensation, you likely need tooth decay treatment.

Don’t wait for sweet sensitivity to be consistent or go away on its own. Once it’s there, it needs to be evaluated at your earliest opportunity. Waiting too long to address a cavity will only allow it to spread into adjacent areas and become more difficult to address.

Discomfort When You Bite Down or Chew

Pain when you bite down doesn’t always mean you need tooth decay treatment, but it does indicate that there’s something wrong. When you bite or chew and notice discomfort, be sure to let our Downtown San Diego dentist know. It could be a cavity, crack, abscess, gum disease, or something else. You may not be able to pinpoint the exact tooth that the symptoms are coming from, but you’ll at least be able to tell what part of your mouth is affected.

Floss Shredding or Breaking

The texture of your enamel changes when you begin to develop tooth decay. Cavity margins are rough—or even sharp at times—as the decay ruptures through the outermost layer of your enamel. This decay process can create a jagged edge around the cavity. When you floss between your teeth, you might notice that it starts to shred or even breaks apart at the same location every time you use it.

Until you come in to have the cavity filled, consider switching to something like a water flosser. These oral hygiene devices are great for hard-to-floss areas like between teeth and around fixed dental work.

Food Getting Caught Between Your Teeth

Tooth decay causes physical holes inside of your teeth, hence the term “cavities.” The larger a cavity is, the more space there is for food to pack inside of whenever you eat. You might notice that during meals there’s an area that always tends to collect food. If you’re reaching straight for a floss pick, bring that area to our attention during your next dental exam.

Irritated Gums

If you have a cavity between your teeth or along the gumlines, the bacterial infection doesn’t just affect your tooth. Your gums may also become a bit irritated. If bacteria, acids, or food debris is consistently building up in the same area because there’s a cavity, you’ll probably see that the gums around that tooth are also swollen and irritated.

Tooth Decay Treatment in Downtown San Diego

At Fifth Avenue Dental Arts, we recommend routine six-month checkups and exams so that tooth decay symptoms can be intercepted as early as possible. By providing earlier tooth decay treatment, your restorations will be more conservative to both your smile and wallet alike. But most importantly, treating infections early keeps them from spreading into the nerve or adjacent teeth.

Cavities don’t improve over time. They will only evolve into more complex conditions, requiring more advanced care to correct.

If you think you could have tooth decay/cavity symptoms, contact our Downtown San Diego dentist today to reserve an exam. Our minimally invasive white fillings are the best option for combatting small cavities.