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Is a Cavity a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are not uncommon. Sometimes, the patient can either be in so much discomfort that they can’t wait for a regular appointment or be dealing with an issue that puts them at risk for permanent tooth loss.

Even so, knowing what is and isn’t a dental emergency can be tricky.

Case in point: does a cavity count as an emergency? Here’s the answer:

What Is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole that forms in the tooth. It’s caused when harmful bacteria present in the mouth break down the tooth enamel. Usually, the most common cause of cavities is improper oral hygiene.

Bacteria start to feed on the food particles that linger in the mouth and release acid. This eventually demineralizes the tooth and forms the hole, a type of permanent damage that can only be treated at a dentist’s office.

Why Treating Cavities Is Paramount

Once a cavity forms, it never goes away. The cavity can get bigger, eventually causing the tooth to become infected.

Cavities are pathways for bacteria to get inside your tooth and eat away at its tissue. Over time, a cavity can grow so large that the tooth cannot be saved through a filling or other restorative methods. In these cases, the tooth must be extracted.

Is a Cavity an Emergency?

A cavity isn’t always a dental emergency.

For instance, if you were brushing your teeth and noticed a dark spot that could be a cavity, while you should get it looked at right away, you can see a dentist during regular hours.

Cavities can be a dental emergency if they cause additional symptoms, such as:

  • High levels of pain
  • Heightened sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Severe swelling
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Tooth cracks, etc.

If you have any of these symptoms, then call us at (704) 335-8266 for an emergency appointment.

The cavity is likely so large that it has reached the nerves, causing your extreme discomfort. The tooth might also be infected and need an emergency root canal.

Can You Prevent Cavities? 

Good oral hygiene habits and routine dental cleanings are the best ways to prevent cavities and other oral health issues.

Other things that can help include:

  • Fluoride treatments
  • Avoiding frequent snacking
  • Cutting back on sugar
  • Drinking tap water after meals
  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Quitting smoking, etc.

Are You Dealing with a Dental Emergency? Reach out to SouthEnd Dentistry Now 

Any time you’re experiencing oral bleeding, a severe toothache, or another type of oral discomfort, chances are you’re dealing with a dental emergency.

Call us at (704) 335-8266 even if you’re unsure if it’s an emergency to describe your symptoms and learn what to do next.

If you have a small cavity and are sure you just need a regular appointment, you can schedule a visit to SouthEnd Dentistry online.

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