Murray Hill Family Dental's Blog

3 Signs That Indicate That You May Have Hidden Tooth Decay

Wednesday October 9, 2013 by
Melissa Brown, DDS

We have a classic case of good news and bad news for you. Let’s start with the good news—oftentimes when people experience tooth decay, they’re asymptomatic. Yet unfortunately (bad news ahead), this can also be cause for concern. How can you reverse tooth decay—before a cavity forms—if you don’t even know that it’s occurring?

Murray Hill Dental to the rescue! Although you may not be able to visually see decay, there are some common indicators that can clue you in to what’s going on in your mouth.

Tooth Sensitivity

Does the thought of biting into an ice cream cone send shivers up and down your spine? Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we see in adults. Fortunately, it doesn’t always signify tooth decay—sometimes it just indicates hypersensitive teeth or gum recession. But, in some cases it is an early warning sign of tooth decay. If you experience pain—from mild to severe—when ingesting food or beverages that are hot or cold, consult Dr. Brown. The earlier tooth decay is identified, the better your chances of preventing a cavity.

Bad Breath

Here’s a little known fact—one of the leading causes of bad breath is untreated tooth decay. Here’s how this works: Once tooth structure breaks down, food begins to get trapped in small crevices created by the decay. As this food accumulates, bacteria begins to degrade the particles which releases gases that create an offensive odor. Sounds gross, huh? Rather than despairing, simply know that if you experience halitosis regularly, it may be a precursor to hidden tooth decay.

Loose Fillings

Fillings are designed to replace tooth structure that has been lost to decay, but unfortunately, they aren’t permanent. On average, they last between 5-15 years, depending on the type of material the filling is made from. When they become loose or fall out, it’s often because bacteria have broken the seal between the filling and the tooth. With regular dental exams, Dr. Brown will be able to identify when your filling is worn and in need of replacement.

Although hidden dental decay can be tricky to spot for the layperson, it’s a breeze at our office with our cool tool, Diagnodent. This painless laser vaporizes bacteria within teeth, analyzes the vapors, and then provides a numerical reading indicating how much decay is present. If you’re experiencing any of the problems above, we encourage you to schedule an appointment and give the Diagnodent a spin! Your teeth will thank you.

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