Top 5 Causes of Cavities According to Dentists

Signs That Say You’ve Got a Cavity

Cavities are damaged areas in your tooth enamel that result from accumulation of plaque on tooth surfaces, especially in between teeth and in hard to reach areas. They can be pin-point holes that are hard to spot or can be visible to the naked eye. Poor oral hygiene usually brings about cavities, also called tooth decay or dental caries. There are a number of ways to know if you’ve got a cavity or two in your mouth.

You have a toothache. Toothaches usually manifest when there’s tooth decay which is the most common cause of pain. However, a sinus infection can cause them, too. But if a toothache comes on suddenly and nothing else about your health has changed, it could definitely be due to a cavity. A cavity can extend into the pulp which contains living nerves and blood vessels. If it’s inflamed it can cause pain. However, cavities are not always painful.

You feel sensitivity when you take hot or cold foods or drinks. Sometimes it can be sensitive or painful with sticky, sweet or acidic items. This is because the food or drink can sip in through a cavity and travel to the dentin, which is made up of microscopic tubules with nerves and are very sensitive. From being sensitive, it can become painful, and the condition must have advanced.

You actually see a hole or a pit on the tooth surface. It shows up as a small white spot on the surface and that’s a cavity already forming. It may be quite thin and already fragile that a small force can open it up. As erosion gets worse, the cavity begins to burrow into your tooth, it forms a hole or pit that might be visible to the naked eye.

You notice a dark discoloration on the tooth surface. This is not like staining from dark colored drinks, like coffee. The discolored spot has a different hue from the rest of your teeth, it can be a sign of tooth decay, It can be a cavity that picked up stains from the foods and beverages you consume.

You feel a sudden jolt of pain when you bite down. This can mean that the pulp is inflamed or that the pulp is dying or has actually died due to infection and is pressing down on the root underneath. The root is of course embedded into bone which is rich in nerves and blood supply. The pressure can hurt. When left untreated, a cavity can damage a tooth badly enough it has to be taken out.

Spotting Cavities Easily in Downtown Seattle

When you feel you’ve got any of these symptoms, do pay your Downtown Seattle dentist a visit right away. From now you’ll have a thorough oral examination to spot any other potential issues.

6 Signs: What Your Tongue is Telling You

Warnings from Your Tongue

Don’t you notice that a visit to your dentist would entail an oral examination that usually starts with your tongue? The tongue can speak volumes when it comes to oral health and many signs point to the state of overall health as well. Let’s look at some warning signs.

Black hairy tongue. Think coffee or black tea when the tongue looks blackish and seems to have an overgrowth of hairs. This can be caused by frequent intake of dark colored foods and drinks and that you are simply on the low end of proper oral hygiene. Most cases can be totally harmless. The papillae on the tongue tend to trap debris and bacteria and a good tongue scraping everyday can clean it and not allow accumulation. However, there are medical conditions like diabetes, antibiotic use, and chemotherapy that can lead to hairy tongue.

Oral thrush. That’s the whitish patches on the tongue, looking like cottage cheese on the tongue surface. It could be a sign of a fungal infection, a clue that something else is going on that has upset the natural levels of fungus-fighting bacteria in the mouth. Diabetics, those inhaling steroids for asthma or lung disease can also exhibit this, and more likely to occur after taking antibiotics. If it is patchy and not covering your tongue completely, it might be leukoplakia, a condition commonly seen in smokers. While it’s not dangerous in and of itself, it could also be a precursor to cancer.

Very red tongue. If the tongue is as red as roses or strawberries, it could be scarlet fever, a bacterial infection that can cause high fevers and rashes. It’s also extremely contagious, so you should see a doctor immediately.

Canker sores. These sores lead to a bumpy tongue and sometimes the tongue may be painful. They can be caused by stress, or a bad flu, are usually harmless and may just need an over-the-counter pain reliever medication. If it is a lone, irregularly shaped bump, it can be Squamous Papilloma that can be surgically removed or lased.

Deep wrinkles. If the tongue looks cracked and grooved, you may have an autoimmune disorder. Big tongue. If your tongue looks bigger than usual or somewhat too big for the mouth, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism which is completely treatable with a synthetic thyroid hormone prescription.

Looking at Tongue Health in Downtown Seattle

When you come pay us a visit in Downtown Seattle, you can be sure to get a thorough oral examination. One of the places we look into well is your tongue. We can never be too careful when it comes to tongue health.

How To Recognize a Tooth Abscess

Analyzing the Abscess

Most people may have experienced a tooth absence. It’s something that’s not forgettable, because most times it can be very painful. An abscess is a pocket of pus, a localized area of dead tissue accumulated after a bacterial infection there. Abscesses can form in many other parts of the body. They are a natural defense mechanism, they block the infection from reaching other sites. It can start like a little pimple.

When you understand tooth abscess symptoms, causes, and seeking professional treatment as soon as possible, there’s a great chance to reduce further infection and complications.

Three Types of Dental Abscess

There are 3 main types of dental abscess. They can be gingival in location, forming on the gum tissue, There’s periodontal abscess, occurring deeper into the gum pockets and if it doesn’t get drained, can spread into the surrounding tissue and jaw bone. Periapical abscess begins as decay in the tooth pulp that goes into the roots and out the root tips. Again unable to drain, it collects at the apices causing encroaching into nearby nerves, vessels and bone.

What causes tooth abscess? Because the mouth naturally harbors bacteria and if oral hygiene is poor or deficient, plaque starts to decay the teeth or gums. Abscess can start with rough toothbrushing, a cracked tooth, food debris stuck between teeth and gums, gingivitis, trauma, and complications from implants, root canal treatment and extractions. Poor oral hygiene is a risk factor, and so is a weakened immune system.

How would you know you’ve got a dental abscess? Pain is a usual initial sign – continuous or throbbing pain, when tooth is tapped, if loose or discolored, when biting or chewing, when there’s hot or cold stimuli. There can be swelling and reddening of the face or gum or bleeding from the gums. Another sign is a foul, bitter taste in the mouth (from draining pus) or a bad smell in the mouth from the infection. Sometimes a dental abscess can already have complications – there can be fever, nausea, headache, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, inability to open mouth or to speak, and general fatigue.

Even if the pain is bearable, visit a dentist as soon as possible to avoid further damage and complications, otherwise, seek emergency treatment.

Accessible to Abscess Treatment

Visit us immediately at our downtown Seattle location and talk to Dr. Jaime Lee if you recognize these signs and symptoms of a dental abscess. The condition is quite common and accessible to treatment.