Many people neglect routine dental visits. They may reason that since their mouth doesn’t hurt, their oral health is in good shape. However, that thinking is dangerous. If you have a dental problem, such as a cavity in McKinney, you may have no idea that it’s there until the issue has progressed to the point where you require extensive dental work. Let’s talk about why that is so and how you can protect your smile from the ravages of untreated tooth decay.
Cavities Aren’t Always Painful
To understand why cavities don’t always cause pain, you have to know a bit about tooth anatomy. Basically, a tooth has three layers: the enamel (the outermost layer), the dentin (the yellowish substance that connects to the tooth’s nerve), and the pulp (which contains the tooth’s nerve). The enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. Its purpose is to protect the interior portions of your tooth from all of the foods and drinks you consume.
Acids and bacteria can erode the enamel and lead to cavities. However, since the enamel doesn’t connect to the tooth’s nerve, you might have no idea that there is a hole in it until the cavity has become so deep that it irritates the dentin and/or the pulp inside the tooth.
Early Diagnosis Prevents Pain
It’s pretty much impossible to self-diagnose a cavity when it is still in its early stages. That’s why it is so important that you attend regular checkups with your dentist in McKinney. Using well-trained eyes, X-rays, and other diagnostic tools, they can detect even the tiniest cavities. If you get the decay treated right away, you can expect a simple and relatively comfortable filling procedure. You might not even need to be numbed while your dentist is treating the tooth.
If you wait until you’re in pain to visit the dentist, there is a good chance that you’ll require more extensive treatment. You may need a large filling, a crown, or perhaps even a root canal. While your dentist will do their best to make your procedure as comfortable as possible, your mouth may still be sore for some time afterward.
On the other hand, dental pain doesn’t always mean that you have a cavity. It could simply be that your teeth are extra sensitive or that you have some old dental work that needs to be repaired. Regular checkups can keep you alert to such issues so you can minimize your oral discomfort and maintain a healthy, happy smile.
Cavities don’t always hurt, but they do always hurt eventually if they’re left untreated. Spare yourself from pain by visiting your dentist twice a year for a routine checkup.
About the Author
Dr. Christine Coughlin is a general dentist who has a true passion for providing her patients with gentle, high-quality care. Whether it’s time for your next checkup or you have questions about a specific oral health concern, she would be happy to help. You can contact our office at 469-526-4040.