How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

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How Do I Know If I Have a CavityIf a cavity can be detected before it’s advanced, there’s minimal damage to the tooth. They can be easily repaired without much dental work. Unfortunately, if the treatment for a cavity is delayed for any reason, it can lead to expensive and painful procedures. The tooth could need a simple filling or a complete root canal to fix it.

What is a Cavity?

At the very basic, it’s a hole in a tooth where the material has been eaten away by bacteria. Once there’s a hole in the tooth from bacteria, more bacteria will develop as it lives inside the hole consuming foods and sugars that sit in the hole.

What Causes a Cavity?

A cavity is caused by bacteria sitting on the tooth and eating through the enamel. The bacteria is also known as plaque. Acid plaque causes the enamel and dentin to soften, which further endangers the tooth. Once the layers soften, saliva and bacteria can erode the tooth even further. If the cavity isn’t filled, it can eat into the inner pulp of the tooth. Once the cavity has invaded the inner pulp, the tooth might need a root canal or extraction since it’s too late to save much of the tooth.

Early Warning Signs

It’s important to be aware of the early warning signs of a cavity so they can be filled as soon as they start. It’ll stop more serious problems from developing.


One of the biggest signs of a cavity is tooth pain. It can hurt when you eat certain foods like extremely cold or extremely hot food or drinks. By the time the tooth starts to really hurt, it could be on the verge of becoming a problem that might need a root canal.


Tooth sensitivity can indicate a cavity. If you normally have tooth sensitivity, you might not like hot or cold drinks or food. Try using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If it’s a new problem, it could indicate a cavity.

Cracks in the Tooth

In some cases, you might not feel any pain at all, but you can feel a hole or crack in the tooth with your tongue. Any cracked teeth should be examined by a dentist. He or she will be able to fix the tooth before it develops into a cavity if it hasn’t already.

Dark Spots or a Dark Tooth

Usually when a cavity hasn’t been treated for a long time, it can develop into a dark spot or a dark tooth. Discoloration could indicate a tooth that needs to be extracted. It could indicate a serious infection and should be treated immediately.

Bad Breath

Bacteria living in your mouth could have invaded a tooth. If it’s not treated, it can develop into serious bad breath. When you are brushing your teeth regularly, you shouldn’t have bad breath. It could indicate a cavity. Have your teeth examined to be sure.

Cavity Prevention

Brushing and flossing regularly will remove food and sugars that attach themselves to tooth enamel. Bacteria and plaque can eat away at the enamel, which is what causes cavities. You should brush and floss after every meal to remove food from between the teeth where they can do serious damage. It’s important to get regular checkups and cleanings every six months.

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