Symptoms of tooth decay


The symptoms of tooth decay always depend on the stage of the disease.

Decalcification processes, in which minerals are detached from the tooth enamel, are to be regarded as a preliminary stage of "real caries". These decalcifications appear as small white spots, so-called "White spots“To recognize on the tooth surface.

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In some cases, even at this stage, the carious areas are dark or yellowish. This is favored by drinking tea or coffee and enjoying nicotine, because dyes can easily settle in the porous decalcification zones.

Also read: How does tooth decay develop?

In the further course of the caries

As the tooth decay progresses, the affected areas of the tooth discolor more and more, they take on the typical "putrid", brown-black color.
At this point in time, the person affected does not feel any toothache, which is why caries is often only perceived as such very late. Once the tooth decay has reached the dentin (Dentine) some symptoms change.

Learn more at: How do you recognize tooth decay?

Caries pain symptoms

Those affected by tooth decay speak of a throbbing pain that is not felt permanently, but only temporarily.
Furthermore, a shooting sharp pain is described, which occurs mainly when consuming cold or warm food and drinks. Eating sweet foods is also often described as unpleasant and painful. Since the caries in the dentin (Dentine) can spread faster and the tooth is hollowed out as a result, at some point the tooth framework breaks away and a hole is created.

At this point, most of the symptoms of tooth decay are perceived as such. But it's not just the symptoms of toothache or the discovery of a hole that drive those affected to the dentist at this stage, it is often the increasing bad breath that is perceived as embarrassing and therefore particularly unpleasant.
If another caries (secondary caries) forms under a tooth filling, this filling loosens and sooner or later falls out.
Very deep caries defects that already have the tooth pulp (pulp) cause severe, stabbing toothache. This stabbing pain disappears as the nerve fibers in the pulp are increasingly destroyed, but despite the lack of pain, this situation is not without risk, because if bacteria get into the blood, it can lead to dangerous blood poisoning.

Symptoms of advanced tooth decay

Often you cannot see tooth decay yourself. Since the enamel does not feel pain, it only occurs when the bacteria have migrated into the dentin. Once the caries is there, it can easily move to the pulp. This can also happen quickly, as caries grows much faster in dentin than in dead enamel.

If left untreated, this can lead to inflammation of the tooth nerve. One then speaks of pulpitis. One sign of inflammation is swelling. But since the tooth is closed or tight, there is no way out of the inflammation. This creates a feeling of pressure. If the pulp is well supplied with blood when there is inflammation, you can even feel the pulse in the tooth.

This pulsating pain is a typical sign. If the destruction is very advanced, you can also perceive a foul odor that does not go away despite brushing your teeth. You don't smell it yourself, but maybe your partner does. Also at this stage of caries, dark holes can appear, which are not just harmless discolorations.

Read more on the topic: Bad breath

Sensitivity to cold

Both enamel and dentin protect the nerve inside the tooth. They protect it from acid, heat, cold, pressure and much more. If the substances are destroyed by caries, however, there is no protection at the point. The cold can get closer to the pulp and the nerves are more likely to perceive the cold and send the signals to our pain center.

A pull on the tooth, known to many, occurs. The symptom is typical with defects in the neck of the tooth. If the tooth necks are exposed, the protective gums are missing. If the tooth surface is then destroyed by caries or has even collapsed, this symptom is even worse.

Read more on the topic: Tooth neck is exposed - what to do?

Sensitivity to knocking

The sensitivity to knocking arises from the fact that the tooth decay makes the tooth porous. Deeper tooth decay in particular causes the dentin to become soft and rubbery. The nerve inside the tooth then lacks the protective hard substances around it.

When knocking with a solid instrument (usually metal) or when chewing, pressure is created. This is now transmitted directly to the nerve. The stable instrument is of course much stronger than softened dentin. The dentin gives way and presses on the nerve, which in a certain way squeezes and triggers a painful stimulus.

Symptoms of tooth decay under a filling

The symptoms vary depending on the tooth and patient, as well as the depth of the tooth decay, the size and density of the filling. For example, there are patients who are very sensitive and can say exactly where and how which tooth hurts. Others, on the other hand, feel no pain even with the largest defects. or hide it. An initial tooth decay will probably not be noticed or felt.

In the case of deep caries, there can be pain when chewing or at rest. Even in extreme cold or something hot, the tooth is more sensitive. If there is caries under the filling, only the tooth is affected. The filling on top is still intact and stable. If pressure is now applied to the filling (for example when chewing), it presses the nerve, as the tooth substance underneath has become porous and unstable due to the caries.