Dental cavities, also known as tooth decay and dental caries, are a disease of the teeth that results in the destruction of tooth enamel. A tooth cavity develops when foods containing "bad" carbohydrates such as soda, cake and candy are left on your teeth.
The impact of cavity symptoms is a lot more serious than most people realize. In fact, dental problems related to dental cavities result in more school absences than any other childhood disease. So it's easy to understand why you might want to learn more about common cavity symptoms and how dentists treat a tooth cavity.
Common Tooth Cavity Symptoms
If you ignore a dental cavity long enough, the cavity symptoms will eventually be hard to miss. For example, years of drinking three cold sodas a day might eventually cause a toothache. That toothache is actually a common symptom of a dental cavity. Another telltale sign of a tooth cavity is bad breath.
If you're experiencing one or more cavity symptoms, take a peek inside your mouth. An easy way to spot a dental cavity is to simply look at your teeth - if you see holes or pits, they are probably dental cavities. Some dental cavities, however, can only be detected by using X-rays or other sophisticated dental equipment.
Treating Dental Cavities
The only way to treat a dental cavity is to visit the dentist. Dentists usually repair a tooth cavity by removing the decayed part of the tooth and replacing it with a tooth filling. Several materials are available to repair a tooth cavity, including:
Amalgam - Durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and economical. Amalgam is typically silver or black in color and contains mercury.
Composite - A tooth-colored mixture of glass and quartz in a resin medium. Composite resin fillings are less noticeable than amalgam but not as durable.