When you get a cavity you’re supposed to feel it, right? Well, at some point, yes, but if it gets to that point it’s probably been left too long. When I examine a patient and tell them I’ve found a cavity in their mouth, often the immediate response is,”But I don’t feel anything! Aren’t I supposed to feel it? The answer: yes and no, and it depends on a few different factors.
The Anatomy Of A Cavity
If you’ve read some of my dentistry insights before you know that I go on a fair bit about acids. Cavities are the result of acids in the mouth eroding the tooth structure, starting with the outer enamel. To get scientific, the bacteria in your mouth will consume any available fermentable carbohydrates (e.g. cookies, soft drinks, candy, bread) in your mouth, and produce acid as a byproduct. Over time that acid softens the surface on your tooth, leading to an open area, or a hole, otherwise known as a cavity. Most times, cavities occur in between the teeth, usually because of infrequent flossing.
But Why Can’t I Feel It?
Depending on the cavity’s location on the tooth and its size you may not feel it at all. On the other hand you may also feel serious sensitivity to sweets, acids and cold temperatures. Small cavities aren’t usually sensitive unless they’re in an exposed area, and they don’t usually become sensitive until they get much larger.
Fix It! Go See Your Dentist!
Remember that if a tooth has pain or high sensitivity it’s likely that there’s a cavity that’s been allowed to get quite large. You should see to it as soon as you can. One of my primary goals as a dentist is to prevent things in your mouth like cavities from getting to the point where they cause severe discomfort. The best way to do this is with routine checkups. My team and I would be happy to get you started on a regular routine of dental care. Please get in touch.