Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Cavity Pain and You
Cavity pain is one of the most upsetting problems to deal with. A dental cavity is a break or crack in the structure of the tooth. It is usually caused by a tooth decay initially constrained to the enamel which is the white part of teeth without feeling. However, when left unattended it progresses to the dentin and eventually to the innermost layer of tooth known as the pulp. It is at this stage that the pain in the cavity becomes intolerable and can give someone sleepless nights.
Causes of Cavity Pain
The main cause of cavity pain is therefore tooth decay. It simply starts with lack of proper dental hygiene. When one does not clean teeth properly, the food particles get wedged between teeth and begin to rot. The bacteria in decayed particles eventually begin to eat through the enamel forming small cavities that often go unnoticed. This process when left untreated proceeds to the dentin which has nerve endings. It is at this part that a person feels sensitivity which is worsened by taking hot or cold foods. When there is no treatment at this stage also the microbes enter into pulp. Here bacteria move faster as compared to when in dentin and enamel. This is because the pulp has pores that make access fast hence development of an infection or pulpitis.
Trauma is another cause of cavity pain. This occurs when a greater amount of force is applied on a portion of tooth that is weak through fist fights or during sports. It may also happen when a person eating some kind of hard food chips tooth at some weak spot. Pain can also occur after undergoing dental fillings. This happens especially when decay was very close to the innermost layer of teeth. The cavity is filled to reduce the gap amid the dentin and pulp that would eventually cause severe pain. In other cases pain after filling a cavity may be due to lack of complete removal of cavity or slack restoration allowing decay seepage inside tooth.
Treatment of any form of cavity pain depends on the cause of the sting. Small shallow cavities are remedied with dental fillings. These are calcium based substances. Restoration of large cavities involves use of dental onlays. This is used when the damage exceeds use of fillings but does not warrant use of crowns. It conserves the structure of the tooth. In cases where dental crowns are used the totally damaged teeth are capped. It however does not retain the tooth structure.
Exposure of nerve endings due to progression of cavity causes sensitivity. At early stages this can be treated with special toothpastes that contain fluorides and other minerals and brushing teeth gently. The minerals are absorbed by the nerves, hence they become less sensitive. Deep filling is also recommended. This measure involves use of an agent that helps regenerate the dentin wall. If exposure is severe leading infection or death of pulp tissues, tooth extraction is required.
To prevent cavity pain, proper dental hygiene needs to be maintained. Regular cleaning of teeth after meals is a must using warm water to avoid intense temperatures. Always use a soft bristled tooth brush. This will help remove all food particles that get stuck in between teeth which eventually lead to tooth decay. Flossing twice a day is also important in removal of tiny particles that cannot be reached by a tooth brush. One needs to avoid sugary foods as such foods often get stuck in between teeth and in small cavities causing pain. Regular dental check-ups need to be done. This will help detect problems like cavities when they are still small and enable early treatment.
Avoid very cold or hot fluids like ice creams or hot coffee among other foodstuffs. This helps reduce cavity pain caused by sensitivity. Brush teeth gently to prevent trauma related pain on a weak spot of the tooth. Also one should put on protective teeth braces when playing games that involve high collision of people. One can also take pain relievers from over the counter to help reduce pain as a short term measure. These drugs block pain receptors making one feel much better. They should however not be used as long term treatment method for serious conditions like deep cavities.
Cavity pain is a serious issue for many of us. The best treatment is to see your local dentist, but other methods can temporarily help to alleviate the pain.
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