Can You Feel If You Have a Cavity?
Even though teeth are super strong, they are still susceptible to damage. Tooth decay is one of the most common ailments in adults and children. So much so that the CDC estimates that about 90% of U.S. adults over 20 have had a cavity in their lifetime. While many people first discover that they have a cavity at their preventive checkups with their dentist in Reno, there are some ways you can tell if you have a cavity at home in between appointments.
What Does a Cavity Feel Like?
While you may think that you feel a cavity, the truth is that the discomfort associated with cavities can often disguise itself as something else. For example, tooth sensitivity is pretty common and is not necessarily a sign of a cavity. However, new or more extreme sensitivity may be a cause for concern. Some other things that you may feel if you have a cavity include:
- Sensitivity when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet
- Pain when biting down on an area
- Feeling a new divot in your teeth that wasn’t there before
Tooth enamel doesn’t contain any nerves, so it can’t feel anything. So if you do suddenly start to feel pain, it could mean that decay has worn away the enamel and found its way to the inside of your tooth where the nerves live. This is a sign that you should call your dentist.
What Does a Cavity Look Like?
Keeping an eye out for any changes in your mouth should be something that you do regularly. But what exactly are you looking for? Many times cavities that are in the early stages and are small will not be visible to the naked eye. That’s a good thing. So don’t be surprised if your dentist in Reno suddenly says you have a cavity even if you’ve had no symptoms. Cavities will start as incredibly tiny areas of decay that you may not notice. But your dentist can see decay through x-rays and other diagnostic tools. Catching cavities early usually means quicker and easier treatment. Now, there are some things you should look for such as:
- Pitting in teeth
- Holes in teeth
- Tooth discoloration
If you notice any of the sudden changes in your teeth, contact your dentist in Reno and schedule an appointment.
Brushing and flossing your teeth every day can help prevent cavities from developing. But it’s also important to see your dentist at least twice a year for preventive checkups. During these visits, your dental team will check for any changes in your mouth and recommend treatment as necessary. As with most things, early intervention is key to successful treatment. The sooner a concern is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin, and the sooner you can rest assured that your oral health is protected. Don’t hesitate, schedule your appointment today!
What to Expect at Your Dental Visit
Maintaining regular visits to your dentist in Reno is a crucial part of having a healthy mouth and bright white teeth. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist every six months. However, we understand that some patients may be worried or anxious about their visits, especially if they don’t know what to expect. To help, let’s break down what happens at dental visits.
Whether it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist in Reno or you regularly keep with your appointments every six months, the first thing you’ll most likely do at your check up is answer some health history questions. These questions will of course focus on your oral health and may include inquiries about any pain or sensitivity or if you may be interested in improving your smile with cosmetic dentistry. Additionally, your dental team will want to get information about your overall health, including any medications, health history, and concerns. Knowing your overall health is key to providing customized care designed just for you.
Even though appointments can vary from office to office, many times a cleaning will be the next step in your visit. A dental hygienist will use safe and effective instruments to gently remove plaque and tartar buildup from teeth. This is a methodical process and may take the most time, however, it’s incredibly important. Even if you take excellent care of your teeth at home and brush and floss every day, tartar can still accumulate, and it can only be removed by your dental team. If it’s not removed, it can lead to some serious problems.
After a thorough cleaning, your hygienist will use a soft rubber polisher and special paste to polish off your teeth. This step will remove any additional plaque and can even help remove surface stains from teeth.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist in Reno, you will probably have some dental x-rays taken. It’s also common to get these x-rays done at least once a year or if there’s a suspected problem. Dental x-rays are safe and, thanks to advanced technology, only emit very low doses of radiation.
Comprehensive Oral Exam
When it’s time to see your dentist, they’ll begin by looking at any areas your hygienist may have concerns about. Then, they’ll perform a thorough examination of your teeth, looking for decay or cavities. But the exam doesn’t stop there. Your dentist will also look at your gums and other areas of your mouth for any signs of disease as well as your jaw and bite.
Knowing what to expect at your dental appointments can ease any anxieties you may have as well as keep you informed every step of the way.
Can You Avoid Staining Your Teeth?
Everything from a daily cup of coffee to a nightly glass of red wine can cause tooth discoloration. These every day habits can transform your teeth from a bright, white appearance into a smile you don’t recognize. But there’s no need to worry as your dentist in Reno has several solutions to how you can avoid and even reverse tooth staining.
You should always brush your teeth every morning and every night. But there are times when you should try to brush more often. If you eat or drink something that can cause tooth discoloration, such as wine, pasta sauce, coffee, tea, or soft drinks, you should also try to brush your teeth after consuming those treats. In fact, if a staining agent in a beverage or food isn’t removed promptly, the more likely you are to have tooth staining.
Rinse When You Can’t Brush
We know that it isn’t always likely that you’ll have the ability to brush your teeth after eating or drinking things that may cause tooth discoloration. If this is the case, try your best to rinse your mouth out with water. Water can help neutralize acids that can lead to decay and, in turn, discoloration, and it can also wash away any staining agents from your dinner.
Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Some people may benefit from using whitening toothpaste. Although whitening toothpaste won’t be appropriate for removing all stains, it may help. If you know you consume a lot of things that can stain your teeth on the surface, using a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance can effectively remove surface stains. Kinds of toothpastes with the ADA Seal mean that they have been evaluated for safety and efficacy.
Consider an Electric Toothbrush
While there is still an ongoing debate about whether or not an electric toothbrush is better than a traditional toothbrush, there is evidence suggesting that using an electric toothbrush may help you brush your teeth more efficiently to remove stains, bacteria, and plaque. If you’re unsure about the best toothbrush, talk with your dentist in Reno to find the best toothbrush for your teeth.
Use a Straw
Even though it may seem silly, using a straw can actually reduce tooth staining by simply eliminating how much of the staining ingredients are exposed to teeth. Essentially, a straw helps divert tooth-staining liquids away from teeth as well as limit the amount of time staining liquids have on your teeth. All told, this reduces the likelihood of tooth staining.
While these tips can help reduce tooth staining, the fact of the matter is nothing will ever completely eliminate it. Over time, our teeth will become dull, even if we follow the above suggestions perfectly. However, your dentist in Reno has cosmetic dentistry treatments available to help whiten teeth or cover up stains. If you’re looking for ways to get a whiter smile, we welcome you to contact us today.