Signs of a Cavity, and How Dental Insurance Can Help
A cavity is a damaged area of the tooth that leads to a hole or opening. Cavities are caused by bacteria from plaque in the mouth. Plaque is a sticky film that covers the teeth. Eating starchy or sugary foods increases the formation of plaque. The bacteria in plaque contains acid that damages the tooth’s enamel and leads to cavities. We can remove some plaque by frequent brushing. But depending on your oral hygiene, diet and genetic factors, you may be at an increased risk for developing a cavity. In this article, we will go over the top signs of a cavity, as well as dental insurance plans, so you can avoid cavities from happening in the first place.
Treating a cavity as soon as possible is usually your best bet. Cavities tend to get bigger and can lead to more complex tooth issues. Recognizing signs of a cavity is helpful to start early treatment.
Below are eight common signs of a cavity.
A toothache is one of the most common signs of a cavity. The tooth that has the cavity may hurt on and off or continually. Sometimes the pain may also radiate to nearby teeth.
2. Pain When Biting Down
Sometimes, pain from a cavity may only develop when biting down on something. Other dental issues can also cause pain when biting. But if pain when biting is always in the same spot, it is best to have it evaluated.
3. Discomfort When Eating Cold or Hot Food and Beverages
Some people develop pain when eating cold or hot foods. This occurs due to nerve sensitivity.
4. Bad Breath
Cavities cause small holes in the tooth. Food can become trapped in the cavities and breed more bacteria, which leads to bad breath.
5. Staining of the Teeth
In some cases, you may notice staining on the tooth, such as a brown or black spot, which can be a sign of a cavity.
6. Swollen Gums
If you let the cavity go too long, it can become large and even lead to an infection. Signs of an infection may include bleeding and swollen gums. In severe cases, pus may also form near the tooth.
7. Bad Taste in Your Mouth
Bacteria and a buildup of plaque can lead to a funny or bad taste in your mouth.
8. A Hole in the Tooth
Depending on the size of the cavity, you may notice a small hole or visible pit in the tooth. But you can also have a cavity and not be able to see the hole because of where it is located.
Why is Dental Insurance Important?
If you do not treat a cavity, it usually gets larger and may lead to an abscess or even a loose or lost tooth. But dental work is often expensive, which is where dental insurance can help. Having dental insurance may help you get the treatment you need for cavities and other dental problems. It will also help save you money in the long run.
Types of Dental Insurance
There are different types of dental insurance. Each type of insurance has different benefits, costs and deductibles. The best option may depend on the extent of your dental needs. Dental insurance options include the following:
Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
A dental PPO involves having a specific network of dentists to select from. If you pick a dentist outside of your network, it costs more. Usually, a dental PPO has a yearly deductible and co-insurance.
Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)
Dental HMO plans usually do not have a deductible, and most preventive services, such as cleanings, are covered at no cost. But you must choose a primary dentist from a certain network. Typically, you cannot choose an out of network dentist.
This type of dental insurance typically provides people with a lot of freedom to choose providers. You can see any dentist you choose since there is no network. You also do not need referrals to specialists. The plan has coinsurance and a yearly deductible. You may pay out of pocket until you meet the annual deductible.
Dental Exclusive Provider Organization (DEPO)
A DEPO-type plan provides you with options for seeing a specialist without the need for a referral. But you have to choose dentists in your network for costs to be covered. This type of plan usually has both a deductible and coinsurance costs.
Dental Point of Service (DPOS)
Another option is a dental point of service plan. This type of plan combines aspects of other plans, including HMOs and PPOs. Participants can choose dentists outside their network. But costs are lower if you choose an in-network provider. You also do not need a referral to see a specialist.
When selecting the dental insurance plan that is right for you, consider the following:
- Cost of coverage.
- Copays or coinsurance costs.
- Yearly deductibles.
- Services covered, such as preventive care, restorative procedures and orthodontics.
- Waiting period before coverage starts.