Cavities are incredibly common, affecting people of all ages around the world. If you suspect you have cavities, it’s a valid concern because, left unchecked, this issue can lead to a host of other dental problems. 

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the signs and symptoms to look for. Want a personalized assessment? Our dentists in Corvallis are here to help you detect and treat cavities using advanced laser technology. Contact us at (541) 754-0144.

Identifying tooth decay: 5 signs you shouldn’t ignore

Sign #1: Toothache

Tooth pain is often the first warning sign that something might be amiss in your mouth. It manifests as discomfort or pain in and around a tooth, varying in intensity, from mild to throbbing.

Toothaches aren’t normal and usually don’t get better on their own, so don’t delay seeking professional dental care. At Timberhill Dental, one of our dentists can examine your tooth, perform 3D imaging exams if necessary, and recommend appropriate treatment. Early intervention is key to preventing further damage and alleviating your discomfort.

Sign #2: Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be an early warning sign of cavities. If you wince when sipping hot coffee or cringe at the thought of biting into an icy treat, your teeth might be trying to tell you something important.

If the sensitivity persists or worsens, schedule an appointment with us for a consultation. We can determine the underlying cause, whether it’s cavities, enamel erosion, or another issue, and recommend appropriate treatment.

Sign #3: Visible holes

Sometimes, the most evident sign that you might have cavities is right there in plain sight — visible holes or pits in your teeth. These small openings can be a clear indicator that your tooth is under attack.

If you spot visible holes, take action promptly. At Timberhill, one of our dentists can recommend an appropriate treatment plan, which may include a dental filling, crown, or other restorative procedures to repair the cavity and prevent further damage.

Sign #4: Stains on the surface of a tooth

Tooth stains can result from various factors, including diet, tobacco use, and dark beverages like coffee, tea, or red wine. However, in some cases, these stains may also be a result of tooth decay or other dental problems that require attention.

If you have stains on the surface of your teeth and suspect they might be related to cavities or other dental problems, schedule an appointment with us for a comprehensive examination. We will assess the stains and determine their cause.

Depending on the diagnosis, we’ll recommend an appropriate treatment plan. This may involve addressing cavities, professional teeth cleaning, or teeth whitening procedures.

While some stains on your teeth may be harmless and primarily cosmetic, it’s essential to rule out underlying dental issues that could lead to tooth decay or other complications. Regular dental check-ups can help catch and address these problems early, ensuring your smile stays vibrant and healthy.

Sign #5: Bad breath

Bad breath, scientifically known as halitosis, can be an indicator of underlying dental problems, including cavities. If bad breath is persistent and doesn’t improve with oral hygiene, it might be cause for concern.

Cavities can cause bad breath due to the accumulation of bacteria and food particles in the decayed area. However, bad breath can have various causes, including diet, lifestyle, and medical conditions. If halitosis is accompanied by other signs like visible holes or toothaches, it’s important to rule out dental problems.

What to do if you have cavities?

We know that having cavities can be concerning. The good news is that tooth decay is treatable, especially when caught early. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do if you suspect or have this problem:

1. Schedule a dental appointment

The first step is to make an appointment with your dentist. At Timberhill Dental, our dentists can conduct a thorough examination using Diagnodent, and advanced laser cavity detection technology.

2. Discuss treatment options

After the examination, your dentist will discuss treatment options with you. Common treatment options include dental fillings, crowns, or in more severe cases, root canals

3. Follow your dentist’s recommendations

Once you and your dentist have agreed on a treatment plan, it’s important to follow through with it. Remember to follow all of your dentist’s recommendations, which will include maintaining excellent oral hygiene and attending your regular cleanings and checkups.

If you’re especially prone to cavities, your dentist may recommend preventive measures like dental sealants or fluoride treatments, as well as limiting sugary and acidic foods.

Keep your smile cavity-free

Cavities are common, so don’t feel bad if you have them. If you’re experiencing one or more of the symptoms described here, seeking timely treatment can help prevent further damage and maintain a healthy smile. 

If you’re in the Corvallis area, our dentists at Timberhill Dental are here to ensure your smile remains bright and healthy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to get expert guidance and care — call us at (541) 754-0144 or contact us online.