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Odd Symptoms That Can Indicate Tooth Decay

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Many people think that a cavity will be obvious, either there will be pain in the affected tooth or some other obvious symptom that the tooth needs treatment. Unfortunately, the signs are not always obvious nor do they always present specifically near the tooth that is suffering decay. The following are symptoms to watch for that can indicate you need to visit a dentist for a full oral health visit to determine if you need to have a cavity treated.


An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that develops as a result of an infection. In the case of a cavity, you may expect the abscess to form near the affected tooth. This is not always the case. Often, abscesses form no where near the tooth. You could have a back bottom molar with decay, but the abscess may actually erupt directly in front of a lower incisor. This is because once an infection is severe enough to cause an abscess, it has likely spread to other parts of your mouth and gums. You will need to have both the infection and the cavity treated.

Jaw pain

A sore jaw can indicate many things, including tooth grinding and tension. Jaw pain also occurs when an infection in a tooth has spread to the bone. This can be dangerous. Bone infections can spread throughout the body if left untreated, which can lead to major health problems down the road. If you have been experiencing jaw pain you need to visit a dentist to have an infection and decay ruled out or properly treated.

Canker sores

Canker sores can form for a variety of reasons, including stress and diet. They also form when your immune system is being kicked into overdrive due to an oral infection. If you are experiencing canker sores and you cannot pinpoint the cause, schedule an appointment with your dentist to make sure a cavity and the resulting infection is not the cause of these sores.

Swollen lymph nodes

The lymphatic system is an important component of your immune system. You have lymph nodes all throughout your body, but the ones most commonly affected by oral health issues tend to be in your neck (behind the ears), under your chin, or on either side of your nose. If any of these feel swollen and you don't otherwise feel ill, you should have your dentist make sure your teeth and gums are in good condition.

Fortunately, once tooth decay and any infections in the tooth, gums, or bone are treated, the above problems tend to go away. Contact a dentist in your area for more help.

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