What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?
Visiting the dentist and undergoing routine procedures, like filling a cavity, doesn’t always make it to the top of everyone’s to-do list. However, maybe it should.
What are Cavities?
Cavities are the result of decay within the tooth. As food particles, plaque, and tartar are left to build up, they latch onto the tooth and can begin eating away at its protective enamel. This is how cavities happen.
Maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of cavities. Home care is not enough, though. Visiting the dentist routinely for professional cleanings and examinations is a crucial step in preventing cavities.
If you already have a cavity, seeing the dentist for a dental filling can ensure it doesn’t spread or cause any further damage.
Signs You May Have a Cavity
How do you know if you have a cavity? There are a few signs you can look out for, including:
- Toothaches that can appear out of nowhere
- Tooth sensitivity to food and beverages with hot and cold temperatures as well as sugary sweet treats
- Pain when chewing
- A hole or pit that is visible
- Discoloration that may be white, brown, or black
Of course, the best way to know for sure if you have a cavity is to visit your family dentist. If you are experiencing any of the above, make an appointment.
What Happens If a Cavity is Left Untreated?
When you do not address a cavity, you leave your mouth susceptible to more complex oral health issues — including tooth loss. After all, the decay is able to continue moving through your tooth and impact other areas.
More specifically, without treating a cavity, you can find yourself experiencing:
Increased pain. As decay is left to spread, it will reach more sensitive areas within the tooth. This can lead to increased pain that may not only impact the specific tooth but spread throughout one side of the mouth or the entire thing.
Pain from an untreated cavity can be sharp, constant, and/or radiating, and may come with swelling. As the cavity reaches the inside of the tooth, the pulp will become exposed and the pain level will intensify significantly.
Increased sensitivity. Cavities can cause a tooth to be sensitive to sugar and hot or cold temperatures. When it is not treated, this sensitivity amplifies. It makes it harder to enjoy the foods and beverages you love, impacting your quality of life.
Infection and abscess. Cavities bring decay that eats away at the tooth. Once it gets inside, it will begin eating the tooth from the inside. In addition to this damage, it can cause an abscess to form on the gums outside the tooth.
Without treatment, the tooth will be vulnerable to breaking, due to its lack of integrity. What’s more, the infection can continue to spread through the tooth and into the jaw bone. It may even make its way into the bloodstream and be carried throughout the body. This can be fatal.
Address Cavities Right Away in El Paso
If you think you have a cavity, don’t put off seeking treatment. Contact the dental team at El Paso Family Dental right away. Get the relief you need — and improve your oral health.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between composite and amalgam fillings?
Amalgam fillings contain mercury and are silver, making them highly noticeable within the mouth. These have since been replaced by natural-looking, mercury-free composite resin as the ideal choice for dental fillings.
How long do fillings last in teeth?
Composite resin fillings tend to last between 5 and 10 years, on average. Those that are well-cared for can last upwards of 15 years.