Untreated cavities can lead to many serious consequences on your oral health, but also your general health state. It’s important to see your dentist frequently and schedule an appointment as soon as you feel pain appear in your mouth.
At the Centre Dentaire & d’Implantologie Boucherville, it’s important for us that you understand why you should take tooth decay and cavities seriously. Here’s a summary of the progression of tooth decay and the consequences cavities can have on your health.
At First, Cavities Are Asymptomatic
During its first stage, tooth decay only affects the tooth enamel. Since the tooth enamel is not sensitive, tooth decay usually starts with no symptoms. It doesn’t cause any pain before reaching further in the tooth.
Even if you can’t feel pain, your dentist will be able to detect this cavity. If it’s discovered while still strictly confined to the enamel, the decay can be treated easily with a simple filling.
From the enamel, the tooth decay will then spread to the dentine. When it reaches this part, the cavity can still be treated with a filling. Since the dentine is a living part of the tooth, this will be the moment the cavity starts to physically hurt.
It’s important to visit your dentist as soon one of your teeth starts to hurt, as an infection reaching the dentine is the last moment during which a cavity can be easily treated.
Untreated Cavities Can Reach the Tooth Pulp
Eventually, the infection will reach the tooth pulp. At that moment, the pain, that could still be relatively weak, or even non-existent, will become an extremely violent toothache. When this pain starts, it becomes urgent to get to the dentist and have your tooth devitalized. To accomplish this, you’ll have to go through a root canal.
If you continue to ignore your tooth, this intense pain will eventually vanish on its own. Contrary to what you may believe, this isn’t a good thing. The pain disappearing means that your pulp has undergone necrosis. Your tooth is effectively dead.
While this is also the result of a tooth devitalization, the root canal also gives your dentist the opportunity to clean the inside of the tooth and remove the infection before it spreads and causes any more damage.
Periapical Abscess: When the Cavity Extends to Neighbouring Tissues
If you let an untreated cavity infect your tooth, it will eventually reach a point where it will propagate from its root and through your gum’s bone. This will create a swelling of the gum and intense pain, which usually intensifies while chewing.
From this point onward, tooth decay will threaten to propagate through your mouth, reaching neighbouring tissues. It can reach the jaw, the mouth’s floor, or the cheeks.
From a simple case of tooth decay, you can develop an infection that affects a good portion of your mouth. A periapical abscess is a serious illness that must be treated as soon as possible.
An Infection That Can Spread Through the Body
Tooth decay is an infectious illness that must be taken seriously. Like any infection, it can propagate through the body and reach other organs and living tissues. If it goes untreated, cavities can eventually reach your blood vessels and spread through your whole body. This kind of infection can extend to many body parts, such as:
- The eyes
- The lungs
- The heart
- The kidneys
- And even more!
Indeed, it’s important to consider that cavities aren’t a simple toothache: they are an infection that can attack the whole human body if you let it grow unchecked.
At a certain point, the cavity is the original source of the problem, but it can no longer be treated by a dentist alone: it becomes a question of general medicine. It’s even possible that tooth decay creates serious consequences that could even reach deadly proportions.
Of course, it’s easy to stop this possible propagation: simply visit your dentist regularly to undergo a complete examination. Generally, it’s recommended to have an appointment at your dentist at least once every 6 months.
These exams will allow your dentist to ensure that everything is fine inside your mouth and that there isn’t any tooth decay left untreated. If you feel any form of pain in your mouth, don’t wait until your next appointment: call your dentist.
For a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile, put your trust in the team over at the Centre Dentaire & d’Implantologie Boucherville. Schedule an appointment today!