Dental Myth: If it doesn’t hurt, you don’t need to fix it
Cavities can be tricky. They can be difficult to diagnose in certain areas and it can be challenging to predict how large they will be. After a filling is completed, it can be just as difficult to predict whether or not the tooth will become sensitive. And there are still many people out there who think that a cavity or a crack on a tooth doesn’t need to be fixed until it breaks or becomes symptomatic. Let’s talk about some of the risks in waiting for a tooth to hurt.
The deep grooves and fissures of the teeth are the most common areas for us to find cavities beginning to develop. We use clinical exams, a dental explorer, and even specialized cameras to identify problem areas in their earliest stages. If we waited until you had sensitivity to hot or cold drinks to diagnose and treat the areas, the tooth decay would be beyond its incipient stage. And the deeper the cavity, the higher the risk of sensitivity and possible root canal treatment. By maintaining regular cleanings and exams, it allows us to help diagnose and treat these areas early and improve your prognosis.
Dental Myth: If I can’t see the cavity, it isn’t that big.
Many cavities can grow quite large and even infect the nerve of the tooth before they are visible. A cavity can begin as a microscopic opening in the enamel (outer layer) and spread into the dentin (inner layer). It can then quietly grow larger within the tooth, and sometimes infect the nerve without any symptoms. In these situations, we rely on x-rays to help us diagnose and treat the cavities. Regular exams and x-rays are sometimes our only way to find these areas before they grow into much larger and more expensive problems.