Since childhood you’ve heard stories about this infamous condition – this state – this most unfortunate position to be in. What’s referred to here is the arch-nemesis of your healthy teeth – the diabolical cavity. This tunnel digger of sorts has no remorse, moving without a second thought of how its mining expedition into the depths of your tooth will cause you countless hours of pain and agony. Your dentist in East Longmeadow leads you on an exposé into its dark world. Prepare yourself to enter the realm of the cavity.
What is a Cavity?
Deriving from the Latin word cavus (meaning hollow), a cavity is a hole resulting from tooth decay that bores through the tooth’s enamel and its underlying layer, the dentin. This hole amounts to permanent damage, resulting from the accumulation of bacteria and other harmful agents.
Types of Cavities
There are 3 types of cavities. Each affects the tooth at a different level.
- Smooth Surface Cavity – This cavity affects the smooth surface, the part known as the enamel. It usually occurs on the front and back of the teeth.
- Pit and Fissure Cavity – If a smooth surface cavity is allowed to fester, it can worsen, eventually affecting the pit and fissure. These are deep, groovy areas that appear on pre-molar and molar teeth, essential for grinding food when you chew.
- Root Cavity – The worse of the three, this is the result of the cavity moving through the enamel and dentin, and into the root area. And because the root lacks the protective layer, its decay can be rapid.
Signs and Symptoms of a Cavity
There are some warning signs to be aware of that may indicate the presence of a cavity.
- Toothache – You may notice intense pain in the area around the affected tooth.
- Sensitivity to Temperature Changes – The initial contact with foods that are either extremely cold (like ice cream) or hot (like lasagna fresh out of the oven) may cause a sudden, unpleasant sensation in the affected tooth.
- Pain when Chewing – if you are experiencing pain as you apply pressure when chewing your food, this may be a sign of a cavity.
In the event that you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to reach out to your East Longmeadow dentist to schedule a visit. The quicker you act, the less damage that can be done, and the faster you can return to optimum oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Steve Scanell earned his B.A. at Alfred University and M.A. from SUC Genesco. He would go on to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Scanell is also a proud member of several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, Valley District Dental Society, and the University of Buffalo Dental Alumni Association. He practices at Drs. Scanell and Hollinger, Inc, and can be reached for more information about his services through his website.