Dental cavities are pretty common among people all over the world. It is one of the most common oral issues that causes holes in the tooth when the tooth enamel gets eroded. Untreated cavities can cause toothaches, infections, and discomfort ultimately leading to tooth extractions. Proper dental care, like regular brushing, flossing, and timely checkups can prevent cavities and tooth decay. When a person suffers from toothaches, and infection can realize what a cavity feels like. He/she wants to get rid of the discomfort, and pain immediately.
What is known as a cavity?
A cavity, in simple terms, refers to a hole in a tooth. The presence of the hole develops from tooth decay because of the loss or erosion of tooth enamel. The loss of tooth enamel usually takes place when the acids in the mouth wear out the outer hard layer of the tooth. Also referred to as dental caries, the cavity can happen to anyone.
The only way to prevent it from causing is the proper dental care and regular dental checkups. As per the survey goes, almost 85% of Americans suffer from cavity at least once by the time they enter their early 30s. It is one of the most common chronic health issues that impact people of all age groups.
Who can get a cavity?
Cavity and tooth decay can affect anyone at any age, but it seems the most common in children. This is mainly because they might not maintain proper dental care and also intake more sugary drinks and food items. Often it is found that new tooth decays develop around the cavity edges that were once treated in childhood.
Adults and grownups also get cavities, but they are more prone to develop receding gums. This is a condition where the lower portion of teeth gets exposed to cavity-causing decay and other related infection. Unless and until an individual suffers from tooth decay can’t explain what a cavity feels like.
Different types of cavities
The concerning fact is that tooth decay and cavities can affect all the layers of a tooth. Studies reveal that it can take up to three years for cavities to form in the outer layers of the tooth enamel. Tooth decay progresses more quickly through the middle tooth layer to the innermost part. Cavity affecting the innermost layer is a serious condition as it affects the tooth’s nerve endings and blood supply. Before the situation gets severe, it is recommended to consult a dentist.
Some of the common types of cavities are mentioned below:
Grownups and senior citizens with a long history of receding gums seem to be more vulnerable to root decay. When there is a gum recession, the root of the tooth is exposed to plaque and acid that decays the tooth eventually. Root decay is challenging to treat and even prevent further.
This is a slow and gradual cavity that dissolves or erodes tooth enamel in years to come. It can be prevented, and in certain minor cases even reversible. Individuals in their 20s usually develop a smooth surface cavity between their teeth. The good news is that it can be prevented with proper brushing, flossing, and other dental cleanliness.
Pit and fissure decay
In this type, the cavities form on the top portion of the chewing surface of the tooth. The cavity also impacts the front portion of the rear teeth. Pit and fissure cavity starts during the teenage years and then progresses rapidly if it is not addressed.
When a person suffers from any type of tooth decay, he/she can realize what a cavity feels like.
Causes of cavities
Several factors come into play for developing cavities. Some of the common ones are:
- Often people indulge in sugary, and starchy beverages, and food items. The bacteria present in the mouth feed on such items, converting the carbohydrates into acids. The acids erode the tooth enamel causing cavities and tooth decay.
- The saliva, acid, food and beverages, and bacteria get mixed up in the mouth and form plaque. The sticky substance causes a coat on the strong outer enamel of the tooth, which gradually progresses in the middle and then finally to the innermost portion of the teeth, causing severe tooth decay.
- People don’t maintain proper dental care habits. They often don’t engage in regular brushing and flossing. This results in tooth enamel erosion, causing holes, and cavities in teeth.
- A regular dental checkup is also an important aspect that must be considered. But people often ditch it until they are in extreme pain and discomfort due to tooth cavity and decay.
Signs of cavities
When tooth decay affects the outer tooth surface, it doesn’t usually show any symptoms or cause pain. As tooth decay progress into the middle and innermost layers, a person starts experiencing some common symptoms and signs like:
- Bad breath in the mouth
- Swelling of the face
- Gum bleeding
- Gum infection
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages
- Redness inside the mouth
Once the above-mentioned symptoms are experienced, he/she knows what a cavity feels like.
Risks for tooth cavity
Though tooth decay and cavity can affect anybody at any age, there are certain risk factors involved. They are:
- Receding gums
- Family history of tooth decay
- Dry mouth due to certain medical conditions or medications
- Consuming excessive sugary and starchy beverages and foods
- Prior radiation therapy
Diagnosis of cavities
Dentists recommend that every individual must opt for dental checkups at least twice a year. This is the best way to get hold of cavities in the initial stage. The dentist makes use of a wide array of instruments and tools to evaluate the teeth and gums. When a dentist checks, the cavity-laden tooth will feel softer. Dental X-rays can also help in identifying the cavities and the degree of tooth decay and accordingly treatment options can be considered.
Tooth cavity and decay can become severe and even require aggressive treatment. One can experience what a cavity feels like only when he/she suffers from it. It is suggested to address dental problems at the earliest to make simple, reversible tooth cavity into nothing serious and beyond treatment. Regular dental checkups and good oral health are the ways to prevent cavities.