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Signs You Could Have A Cavity And What A Dentist May Do To Help

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An important reason to see your dentist regularly for checkups is to find cavities. Cavities don't always cause pain right away, so you can have a small cavity and not know it until the dentist finds it during a checkup visit. If you skip dental visits, the cavity can grow and the tooth can get infected. Here are some signs you could have a cavity and ways a dentist can treat your tooth.

A Cavity Is Decaying Tooth Enamel

You can often see a cavity once it's large enough and if it's in a place where it can be seen. A cavity is decaying enamel, so it's dark in color. As it eats away at your tooth, you'll even notice a hole forming. Other signs of having a cavity include pain when you eat or drink cold liquids. You might have tooth sensitivity, and your tooth could hurt or throb even when you're not eating or drinking.

A cavity causes a toothache because the decay eventually reaches a nerve. If an infection develops due to the cavity, you could have swelling under the tooth too.

A Dentist Finds A Hidden Cavity With An X-Ray

Your dentist can find cavities on the surface of your teeth with a visual examination. If a cavity is between your teeth or otherwise in a place the dentist can't see very well, they may do an X-ray to locate the cavity, see how big it is, and look for infection.

The Treatment Depends On How Bad The Cavity Is

A small cavity may require a simple filling. This procedure is done by drilling away the decay from your tooth and then putting in a silver amalgam, porcelain, or resin filling to fill the hole and restore the appearance of your tooth.

If the cavity is large, there may not be enough enamel left after drilling to hold the filling. In that case, your tooth is topped with a crown that fits over your tooth. You'll keep your tooth root when you get a crown.

Crowns come in different materials, such as gold and porcelain. Your dentist helps you decide on the best type of crown to get depending on the location of the tooth and whether it can be seen when you smile. The dentist can color-match your other teeth so the crown looks as natural as possible.

If your tooth developed an infection, you might need a root canal procedure done before the crown can be put on. A root canal cleans the infection out of your tooth root so you can save the root to support the new crown.

Speak to your dentist to learn more.