Cavities Don’t Always Hurt

One of the most frustrating things that dentists have to deal with on an every day basis is this very simple question: “But Dr. Payet, how can I have a cavity when nothing hurts?!” And you know what?  The very simple fact is this:

Cavities don’t always hurt – at least, not until they are REALLY bad, in which case you’ve waited too long!  

When Do Dental Cavities Hurt?

I think there is 1 other disease that is a good comparison when answering this question, so ponder this for a moment:

  • When does high blood pressure hurt?  Not until the heart attack usually. 

That’s the problem we face with cavities…..they usually don’t hurt until it’s gotten really bad.  Just like with high blood pressure and heart attacks. In dental terms, “really bad” typically means something like teeth being really loose, infected nerves, bleeding gums, broken teeth, etc.  And “really bad” in dental terms also usually means “really expensive.”  And PLEASE trust me when I tell you – the huge majority of dentists do NOT want you to wait until things are really bad and really expensive!

This Deep Tooth Cavity Wasn’t Hurting

Here’s an example from today – a patient who’s been coming to us for about 2 years, but who has an extremely busy work schedule and unpredictable work hours.  When she was in for a cleaning, we had some open time and managed to get a couple fillings done…..and boy were they deep!  We originally planned these almost 2 years ago, and they were a lot smaller then.


Don’t Wait Until the Cavity Hurts

So what’s the point?  Just this: if your dentist tells you that there are cavities, please don’t think that she or he is lying just because there is no pain.  If this young lady could have 2 cavities that deep and zero pain, it could happen to you, too.  She was lucky – another 6 months, and she’d have needed root canals and crowns on both teeth, which would have cost about 5x more and taken about 5x more time.

Please – just get the cavities fixed when they’re small, before they hurt, and before a hole actually breaks in the tooth.

So what do you think?  Agree or disagree?  Think I’m full of it or maybe this is the kind of dental care you want?  Why not leave a comment, Pin it on Pinterest, Like it on Facebook, +1 it on Google+, Share it on LinkedIn, or even Tweet it!

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