You may have wondered if your teeth can repair themselves like your bones do. After all, aren’t teeth and bones the same thing? Actually, while teeth and bones do have similarities, they are also very different, too. Let’s talk about the difference between teeth and bones and what happens if you don’t fill a cavity.
What’s the Difference Between Teeth and Bones?
Teeth and bones are both incredibly strong, in fact, teeth are the strongest part of the human body. Both teeth and bones are hard, white and made up of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. But unlike bones, your teeth are not able to produce new cells to promote new growth and heal themselves if they are broken.
Why Can’t a Cavity or Broken Tooth Heal Like a Broken Leg?
When a bone breaks, new cells scramble to the site of the trauma to begin to heal the break. While the enamel or outer layer of teeth is stronger than the outer layer of bones, it is unable to repair itself if the tooth is broken, chipped or suffers decay, and the inner layers become prone to infection if not repaired by a dental professional.
When you don’t fill a cavity, bacteria can enter through the enamel and potentially reach the pulp or root, or the innermost layer of the tooth. This can lead to infection or death of the tooth, requiring a root canal or the tooth needing to be pulled.
How Do You Know if You Have a Cavity?
Now that you know more about what happens if you don’t fill a cavity, it’s important to know how you can know if you have a cavity. Symptoms of a cavity can include increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or sweets, pain when biting down or chewing crunchy foods, a visible hole or dark stain on the tooth or a toothache.
These symptoms may also be a sign of something more minor, or more serious, so if you’re suffering from these symptoms it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible for an exam to rule out more serious problems and address the source of the problem to relieve your symptoms so you don’t have to suffer longer.
Does Filling a Cavity Hurt?
Many people’s first question before getting a cavity filled is, “Will it hurt?” Getting a cavity filled usually doesn’t cause any discomfort to the patient because a numbing agent is applied before any procedure is done. When you don’t fill a cavity, the consequences can be very painful. To avoid further discomfort, it is best to fill your cavity as soon as you can.
If you’re still feeling concerned, talk to your dentist about your fears and any questions you have. Your dentist has worked with many patients who struggle with dental anxiety and will want to do everything they can to help you feel as comfortable and confident as possible going into your appointment.
Call our Austin Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.