Nobody wants to find out that they have a cavity, but unfortunately dental cavities are very common. Many patients report experiencing discomfort before they are diagnosed with a cavity. Why do cavities hurt? Here’s what you should know about what a cavity is and how to spot one.
What is a Dental Cavity?
Knowing what a cavity is can help to explain the answer to the question, “Why do cavities hurt?” A dental cavity occurs when the hard outer layer of a tooth, called the enamel, erodes or is damaged to the point that a small hole forms.
Erosion and the resulting cavity typically occurs when bacteria-containing plaque remains in contact with a tooth for an extended period of time. This is why it’s so important to brush and floss your teeth regularly and visit your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings.
What Does a Cavity Feel Like?
A cavity can cause discomfort because it means that the inner layers of your teeth are no longer protected by the enamel and are now exposed to temperature changes, bacteria, and other things that may cause irritation, further damage, or infection. Typically, this discomfort is felt when you eat or drink something cold or hot. You may also experience increased sensitivity when chewing or breathing through your mouth. The discomfort is your body’s way of telling you that your tooth needs attention.
What Should I Do if I Have a Cavity?
If you experience any discomfort with your teeth or mouth, you should make an appointment with your dentist right away. It’s always best to diagnose a cavity as soon as possible so that it can be treated before it becomes a more serious problem.
In the meantime, it can help to avoid exposing your teeth to extreme temperature changes. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers may also provide some relief from the discomfort until you can see a dentist. If the discomfort goes away before you can see a dentist, it’s important to still keep your dental appointment, as the sudden disappearance of discomfort can also be a sign of a more serious condition.
If you have further questions about cavity-related concerns, such as “Why do cavities hurt?” don’t hesitate to call your dentist’s office. We are here to help you keep your teeth happy, healthy, and free from cavities.
Call our Greenbrier Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.