Caries—aka tooth decay—may not be a serious or life-threatening condition, but they can lead to other, much more serious dental and other health problems. From pulp necrosis and oral cancer to pregnancy complications and infertility, ignoring even a small infection or sore can put you in a world of hurt and pain.
No matter how busy your work schedule is, visiting a dentist should be a priority if your teeth aren’t performing to their full capacity. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among younger people, while it’s prevalence in adults is second only to colds.
Dental caries doesn’t occur overnight; this list of signs and symptoms can help you figure out the progression of your tooth decay and if it’s time to take that long overdue trip to the dentist.
The symptoms of tooth decay can differ depending on the location and extent of the damage. The most common early signs are:
If you have tooth pain without any apparent reason, it might be due to caries. The pain is often irregular and sharp in nature.
If hot or cold drinks and eatables are suddenly causing a stinging feeling in a specified area, a cavity may be forming in one of the teeth. Biting relatively hard foods can also become a problem if you’re undergoing tooth decay.
Halitosis—or bad breath—is a condition that can be caused by a number of reasons, one of which is caries. If even brushing and flossing teeth aren’t able to get rid of the foul smell, the chances are that you’re developing tooth decay.
While these early signs could be pertinent to a number of other dental issues and may or not be because of tooth decay, these severe signs can confirm the diagnosis. You should also visit a dental clinic or a local dentist in your area to get a professional opinion instead of treating the decay at home.
An obvious and serious symptom of tooth decay is cavities and pits. You can check for holes by touching the surrounding area of the tooth with a finger or simply by looking at it in the mirror. Get an x-ray as soon as possible to start the treatment.
Hard to ignore, caries are almost always accompanied by black or brown spots and stains adjoining the affected tooth. The discoloration occurs because of plaque collection in the cavity and increased production of bacteria.
If your tooth has pus around its roots and on the gums, clearly your tooth is decaying. Pus is pressure sensitive and accompanied by persistent pain.
Tooth decay happens over a long period of time, and taking preventative steps can halt the damage. It is of utmost importance to regularly visit a dentist and stay on top of your oral hygiene. Without x-rays and thorough checkups, cavities and decay often stay unnoticed and help is only sought after the damage is irreversible. In that case your only options are getting a tooth extracting or a root canal treatment.
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