How To Tell If You Have a Cavity

Cavity Tacoma, WA

A cavity results when the enamel, which is the outermost and visible layer of teeth, erodes away due to acidic attacks caused by bacteria and food particles. Cavities worsen the longer they go untreated, so detecting them early and seeking prompt restorative dental care is important.

What are the signs of a dental cavity?

The early signs of a dental cavity include a visible hole or pit, tooth discoloration, pain while chewing, sensitivity, and toothache. If one or more of these symptoms develop, then it is important to notify the dentist and schedule a visit for an oral examination and treatment.

A visible hole or pit

The word cavity refers to a hole that exists on an otherwise solid object. In dentistry, the term is used to describe eroded tooth enamel, which creates a hole or pit, depending on the location of the decay. Therefore, if a hole or pit can be seen or felt, then it suggests a cavity is likely unless the hole or pit is caused by trauma and not decay. In either case, seeking prompt care is important.

Tooth discoloration

Tooth discoloration can result when the tooth develops a cavity. This typically appears as a darker color and is relatively noticeable. The size of the discoloration may spread the longer the cavity goes untreated. Before the cavity forms, teeth may turn a lighter white color once the enamel weakens and officially erodes away. Any discoloration should be promptly addressed and treated by a dentist, either through filling the cavity, root canal therapy, or strengthening the enamel through fluoride treatment.

Pain while chewing

Dental cavities expose the underlying layers of teeth. In these layers, there are far more nerves than in the enamel, which means that pain can intensify the deeper the cavity spreads toward the root of the tooth. One way this pain is noticed is by chewing, particularly when pressure is placed on the tooth.

Tooth sensitivity

Due to the exposure of the underlying layers of teeth, cavities also can cause sensitivity as well. This is typically at its worst when the tooth is exposed to hot or cold substances, such as hot foods or frozen drinks. Sensitivity is a sign that the cavity is spreading toward the root and could lead to more severe complications if left untreated.

An aching tooth

A toothache that remains constant and does not improve on its own is also a concerning sign of a cavity. If left untreated, it could lead to an infection and thus far more invasive treatment. Therefore, any toothache that does not go away within a few hours requires prompt care from a dentist.

Schedule a visit with our team for cavity detection and treatment

If you have symptoms of a cavity or simply are due for your next check-up, then contact our office today to schedule a visit. We offer cavity detection and treatment, and we can help you put together a plan for cavity prevention in the long term.

Request an appointment here: or call Korsmo Family Dental at (253) 336-0016 for an appointment in our Tacoma office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Cavity in Tacoma, WA.

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