Signs You May Need a Filling
Tooth decay--it's common in children, teens, and adults. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control states that 91 percent of Americans between 20 and 64 years of age have had at least one cavity. If you needed a filling, would you know the signs? At Blue Ridge Dental in Mount Airy, NC, your dentists prevent, diagnose and treat tooth decay. Here's what Dr. Lynette Smith and Dr. G. Bennett Smith say are telltale signs of decay.
What is a dental cavity?
It's a pit or hole in your tooth enamel caused by the acids oral bacteria secrete. As that hole grows, it spreads across and downward in the tooth surface. Ignored, this cavity may invade the yellow dentin and soft pulp interior to your tooth enamel, resulting in infection and tooth failure. In addition, areas of decay weaken and undermine healthy tooth structure and the integrity of existing restorations, such as crowns, veneers, and fillings.
How to protect your teeth
Of course, your daily flossing and twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste does much to protect your teeth from decay. Preventive services such as fluoride treatments and plastic sealants guard teeth from acidity and bacterial invasion. Plus, the American Dental Association recommends semi-annual cleanings, to remove plaque and tartar, and examinations with your dentist in Mount Airy to inspect for decay and other kinds of dental breakdown. These practices, combined with a low-sugar/carb diet, do much to keep gums and teeth strong.
Moreover, knowledge is indeed power. You should know and recognize the signs that you may need a filling so you get treatment right away. These signs include:
- Dental sensitivity to heat, cold, or sugary foods and drinks
- A throbbing toothache
- Sharp pain when biting and chewing
- Tooth discoloration
- A chip, crack, or area of roughness
- Lost filling or crown
- Drainage from the tooth or redness along the gums
If you exhibit any of these signs, contact Blue Ridge Dental right away. In the meantime, you can take over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, and apply ice if your jaw is tender or swollen. Cover rough areas or obvious holes with orthodontic wax, and if you lose a filling or crown, bring it with you to the office if possible.
Avoid complex care and dental extractions
Be aware of what's happening with your teeth and gums, and if it's time for your six-month visit to Blue Ridge Dental, please contact us. Keep ahead of tooth decay so you continue to have a beautiful, long-lasting smile. Call (336) 789-5306.