For nearly a week, Julia Fregoso suffered tooth pain so intense that she was unable to eat, drink, and even sleep.
Her pain was due from a molar she broke last December, and she went to USC’s Urgent Care and Dental Trauma Center in hopes of relieving her pain and addressing her dental problems. Just 3% of all patients who come to an urgent care center need to be diverted to an emergency department.
“The night after my extraction was the first night in almost a week that I actually slept throughout the night,” she said. “Less than 24 hours later, I was able to eat and speak with no pain and little to no swelling. I’m feeling so much better.”
On any given day at dental facilities across the country, patients come in with a wide range of dental needs including root canals, extractions, cracked teeth issues, and even cavities.
Sadly, even minor cavities can lead to severe pain and further dental issues like Fregoso experienced.
Cavities are extremely common across the United States. In fact, at least one in five Americans currently have at least one or more untreated cavities. Though the majority of these cavities can be fixed with proper dental hygienic procedures, if these cavities go untreated for too long, they can lead to far worse conditions.
Here are a few reasons why it’s important to take care of dental cavities right away:
- Cavities are a disease — According to the National Institute of Health, a cavity is defined as permanent damage due to mineral and enamel loss (tooth decay). Like other diseases, cavities worsen over time and lead to additional complications like abscesses, tooth loss, infection, and intense pain.
- You can’t fix a cavity by yourself — Even if you find temporary ways to relieve the pain, you’re never going to be able to reverse or fix cavities on your own. So it’s best to visit a dental professional as soon as possible.
- You’ll save money — If you wait to address your dental issues, both the pain will be too severe and the damage will be so prevalent that you’ll have to spend a significant amount of money for dental repair. Taking care of cavities early will save you a lot of cash.
Additionally, it’s best to understand the warning sings of cavities forming in your mouth so you can prevent further damages from happening. Keep in mind, though it’s best to consult with your dentist, if you’re in need of immediate care, approximately 85% of urgent care facilities are open seven days a week and can help with any pain issues you might be having.
“Pain is often a symptom, and pain can be in the gums below the tooth or the tooth itself,” added Eric Klein, DDM. “Sometimes you have a sharp, acute pain or it may be a dull, throbbing pain, and both are signs of a cavity.”
Here are a few symptoms that you should keep an eye out for when it comes to dental cavities.
- Spontaneous and severe tooth pain that occurs without any apparent cause.
- Overly sensitive to the touch, as well as both hot and cold food and beverages.
- Brown, black, or white staining on any surface of a tooth.
- Excruciating pain during a bite.
- Visible holes inside the teeth.