What are the Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis of Dental Caries?

Dental caries, also known as tooth decay, is one of the most common dental diseases treated by Family dentist in Woodbridge. However, it is easily preventable. Dental caries is referred to as the breakdown of tooth structure due to acids produced by bacteria. In this blog post, we will learn about the signs, symptoms, and diagnosis of dental caries. 

Signs and symptoms

  1. Pain: Toothache is the main indication of a tooth cavity.
  2. Pits: A pit is a hole on the tooth structure’s surface indicating dental caries. It may be small enough to be only detectable by an x-ray.
  3. Pressure: If you experience pressure on biting or regular tooth sensitivity, it may indicate that you have a tooth cavity.
  4. Pus: In advanced stages of tooth decay, patients may notice pus around the affected tooth. It may also indicate that the tooth has become infected and should be treated urgently.

Diagnosis of Dental Caries:

The tooth structure should be cleaned and dried for a systemic inspection to diagnose the dental caries. Your dentist in Woodbridge will diagnose dental caries through a visual examination. The tools used for the visual examination include a dental mirror, blunt or ball-ended probe, suitable lighting, and compressed air for drying. A ball-ended or blunt probe can be used gently to confirm the presence of cavitation, sealants, and restorations.

White spot lesion is the first visible sign of the presence of caries. However, early lesions are only visible if the surface is dried. It is because when the enamel is demineralized it becomes porous and the pores contain water. But when dried, the air replaces the water in pores and the lesion becomes more visible. As the lesion advances the caries will become obvious even when wet.

Large cavities, if present on the occlusal surface of the tooth are easily detectable. However, proximal and dentine caries are difficult to identify. Therefore, diagnostic aids are a necessary adjunctive tool used by clinicians to determine lesions that might not be detectable by the naked eye. The most commonly used tools are radiographs. The views which are of value for caries diagnosis are:

  • Bitewings
  • Orthopantomograms (OPTs)
  • Bimolars
  • Periapicals.

By learning the signs, symptoms, and diagnosis of dental caries, you can safeguard your oral health. Early detection and preventive measures are critical for preserving a healthy, cavity-free smile. In dentistry, a proactive approach is best to avoid a silent threat.