How Do You Know if You Have Tooth Decay?

It’s no secret that prevention is the best way to protect your smile, but most people experience tooth decay at least once in their lives, despite their best preventive efforts. The good news is that, if decay does develop, then sticking to a regular schedule of preventive dental visits will increase your chances of detecting and treating it early. If you know what to look for, then you may even notice signs of tooth decay development between your visits. If so, then you should schedule a visit to our El Paso, TX, dental office as soon as possible.

What tooth decay means

The term, tooth decay, describes a progressive infection in your tooth structure caused by harmful oral bacteria. These bacteria accumulate into plaque and cling to your teeth, metabolizing sugar and carbs into acids that it uses to weaken your tooth enamel. After causing enough damage, the bacteria can then slip past tooth enamel and settle in the tooth’s main structure, causing the infection known as tooth decay.

The early warning signs

The first signs that your tooth is at risk of decaying is that your tooth enamel has become weaker, making your tooth increasingly more sensitive. However, before your tooth starts to hurt, your dentist might notice the weakened enamel during your routine checkup and cleaning appointment. As decay grows worse, tooth pain will grow much worse and can be accompanied by visual signs such as discoloration in specific areas of your tooth.

When ignoring it isn’t possible

If you ignore tooth decay long enough, then it can reach the nerves and blood vessels housed within the pulp chamber at the center of the tooth. While the aching may have already become serious, internal tooth decay can cause tooth discomfort so severe that ignoring it is no longer possible. The increased pain indicates the increased risk of your tooth become severely compromised and possibly requiring root canal treatment or extraction.

Rid your tooth of decay

There are several different signs that could warn you of tooth decay. If you notice any of them, then schedule a consultation by calling the Sunny Smiles dental office nearest you in El Paso, TX, today! We have offices in the East, Northeast, and Westside of El Paso, and happily welcome patients from all nearby communities, including Chaparral, Canutillo, Vinton, and Sunland Park, New Mexico.