Caries is a multifactorial disease that affects a large percentage of the world population. We will try to answer the question How do I know if I have cavities? Despite the strong awareness campaign on proper oral care and the efforts made to reduce the incidence of caries, this disease is still present in millions of people of all ages.
A good brushing technique, using a fluoridated toothpaste, is capable of preventing cavities. However, sometimes cavities can develop in places where the brush cannot completely clean.
In this article, we will explain how to know if you have cavities.
What does a cavity look like?
The general perception of cavities is that they are a black cavity in the tooth. However, this is not always the case, and it can also be seen as a white spot.
Caries are lesions that occur when some bacteria such as mutans streptococcus feed on the sugars and carbohydrates present in the mouth, producing acids that attack the teeth and demineralize the enamel.
After constant acid attacks and a high bacterial load at the injury site, the enamel structure breaks down, leaving behind a hole filled with dark, opaque softened tissue, which can be identified with the naked eye.
However, caries starts from the first moment that the acid begins to demineralize the tooth, long before a cavity is formed. At this time, decay looks like a small white or yellowish spot on the surface of the tooth. These early lesions can be difficult to identify with the naked eye, as they are similar in color to healthy enamel and are small in size.
Not all dark spots are cavities
The traditional appearance of a black spot or dark hole in the tooth occurs once the lesion has progressed into a cavity. However, it is essential to understand that not all stains or dark spots on the tooth are caries lesions.
The natural pits and fissures of the teeth can become pigmented and take on dark colors similar to those of cavities. In these cases, the dentist is the one who can carry out the pertinent study and evaluation to find out if it is a pigmentation or a caries lesion.
Clinical appearance is not the only way to identify carious lesions. These can present with pain or sensitivity when consuming foods or drinking cold, hot and sweet drinks even if you cannot see them, being a great indication of injured teeth.
It is important to understand that the severity of the injury is not always associated with the severity of the pain. Sometimes it is possible to observe small injuries that cause great discomfort and large injuries that even go unnoticed. This is due to the pain threshold that each person experiences individually.
The help of the dentist
Since in the initial stages the injury is painless, it is vital to visit the dentist for a complete evaluation on a regular basis, since he can identify injuries that go unnoticed. In addition, it can look at those areas of your teeth that you can’t, where cavities might be hiding, and even use x-ray exams to find hidden lesions and determine their severity.
In conclusion, a good way to identify the presence of cavities is to look for cavities or black spots on your teeth, these can be accompanied by discomfort to stimuli such as cold. However, you will need the help of your dentist to determine if there are cavities that you cannot see and that need treatment to maintain your oral health in optimal conditions.