Cavities are a very common dental issue, so naturally many of our patients worry about them. You might be tempted to look at your teeth in the mirror yourself to see if you can spot any decay. But what do cavities look like? And is this even an effective way of checking for problems? Read on to learn what to look for- and when to call a dentist.
What Do Cavities Look Like?
So what do cavities look like? Generally speaking… just like regular teeth. This is because most cavities are not noticeable to the naked eye, which means they are nearly impossible to notice at home.
There are exceptions to this, though. Some people might notice a white or chalky formation on their tooth enamel. Others might even notice black or brown spots. Darker spots can indicate a more serious cavity, so these should be checked by a dentist right away.
Signs of Tooth Decay
While tooth decay is generally hard to see, there are some other signs to look out for. Pain, sensitivity, and bad breath can all be signs of a problem. Of course, visible discoloration and other changes to the look of your tooth are also red flags. If you notice any of these changes, then talk to your dentist. While the issue could have a harmless cause, it might also be the sign of a cavity.
The Importance of Regular Exams
Regular dental exams are one of the best ways to treat minor cavities and to prevent new ones from forming. This is because minor cavities don’t usually produce symptoms. Only a dentist can properly examine the teeth, order x-rays, and use other tools to check for decay. If your dentist spots decay early, then they can offer quick and easy treatment options. Advanced decay will require more complex procedures, including root canals and even oral surgery.
Of course, dental exams aren’t just about treating tooth decay. Regular exams can also prevent new decay from forming. You will be given a professional cleaning during your exam, and might also be given anti-cavity tools like fluoride.
Patients need a dental exam every 6 months for optimal health. Is it time for your next dentist appointment? Call Noble Smile Family Dentistry to book your exam today!