Toothaches and cavities are often seen hand in hand, but the reality is more complex than that. Not all cavities hurt, but most do. This blog has discussed the gradual pain cycle and what you can do to find relief.
Here’s Why Cavities Hurt
Bacteria is the root cause why a cavity emerges. It is a common issue that arises when the food and drink particles do not get properly cleaned from teeth.
Their presence leads to the formation of a sticky, acidic substance known as plaque. Truth be told, even those who practice good oral hygiene can fall victim to cavities in tiny spaces and corners where a regular brush cannot reach.
Cavities start off pretty tiny at a place where acid starts eroding the outer layer of enamel. This stage involves no pain. However, as the decay deepens, it becomes painful.
The Stages of Pain from Dental Decay
Most cavities progress their way through the following stages:
Stage 1 Early Cavity – No Pain
Early-stage cavities involve no pain or discomfort. Tooth enamel is quite sturdy and does not have receptors to send pain impulses. As soon as a cavity starts forming, you may notice a change in tooth color and white patch discoloration, making way for cavities. Still, these early-stage cavities are often too small to detect without an x-ray. This is why regular checkups are crucial.
Once you start sensing sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods, it is clear that the cavity has gotten worse. The pain may not be severe or occur every time you eat or drink something. Usually, the pain subsides at this stage as soon as the trigger is removed.
Sharp Zaps of Pain While Eating
Once a cavity penetrates deeper in layers, you might have sudden sharp pain or dull aches when eating food. This pain is mostly limited around the cavity. At this point, the cavity has reached the tooth’s root, filled with nerves and blood vessels.
Constant, Throbbing Ache
When the tooth pain becomes persistent and continuous, along with gum swelling and redness in the vicinity, you are in for the long haul. This level of discomfort makes eating, concentrating, and even sleeping a difficult task. It is a major sign that the tissues inside the tooth are infected.
What To Do For Relief?
The best route of action in case you suspect a cavity is to schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. A dentist can examine and take X-rays to assess the extent of damage for the best treatment plan. Meanwhile, follow these steps to alleviate discomfort:
- Limit your intake of foods and drinks that serve as pain triggers.
- Consider using over-the-counter dental rinses or numbing gels.
- Rinse your mouth regularly with a warm salt water solution.
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area.
Understanding the stages of cavity development and associated pain, along with methods to seek relief, is pivotal when it comes to maintaining good oral health. In case you have any questions or concerns, contact experts from Smile Time Dental today and discuss your condition. Call us at 281-245-0711.