How to Tell If You Have Cavities:Signs And Symptoms To Look For

Healthy teeth are the key to our overall health. A recent study claimed about 30 percent adults of in American struggle with untreated dental cavities while 92 percent have cavities filled.

Generally, preventing tooth cavities or decay is among the most essential ways of keeping our teeth in healthy condition to prevent severe complications. But knowing how to tell if you have cavities will be crucial to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums.

how do you know if you have a cavity

Treating your cavities in the early stages can be helpful, but how to tell if you have a cavity? I got you covered. Below is a simple and quick guide that will help you understand the top signs and symptoms when trying to figure out how to know if you have a cavity

What is a tooth cavity?

These are the results of tooth decay. Besides, decay is known to affect the outer coating of the tooth as well as your inner layer called dentin. The signs and symptoms of tooth cavity depend most probably on how massive it is, where it is and symptoms may not appear at first.

Unfortunately, untreated cavities tend to get larger affecting the deeper layer of the patient’s teeth and thus leading to severe dental problems and more pain. The sooner you realize you have cavities the earlier you get help.

Generally, preventing tooth cavities or decay is among the most essential ways of keeping our teeth in healthy condition to prevent severe complications. But knowing how to tell if you have cavities will be crucial to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums.

How to know if you have a cavity?

The easy-to-spot signs and symptoms of teeth cavities

  • Sensitivity to cold and heat

Among the common symptoms that someone with a cavity is likely to notice is lingering sensitivity whenever he drinks or eats cold /hot beverages or food. Generally, our teeth have a strong layer of tissue known as dentin which lies below your enamel.

Thus, if this enamel is eaten by bacteria and starts wearing down it will expose your dentin. And in this case, when cold or hot food hits someone dentin, tends to stimulate cells and nerves in the teeth which creates the feeling of teeth discomfort and sensitivity.

Besides, this feeling might linger for some seconds or preferably minutes after patients have taken a drink or food. Overall, this feeling may make enjoying someone’s favorite food, drinks, snacks, etc. very hard.

Related: What Do Cavities Look Like: How to prevent It

  • Toothache

This is the classic symptom of a tooth cavity. In essence, the ache may range from occasional and dull to debilitating and constant at absolute worst. Further, it might come randomly on a specific day or preferably after eating something the tooth cavity you have does not enjoy.

Also, the pain may radiate around the patient’s whole mouth and in multiple teeth which may specifically hurt whenever someone bites down. Besides, toothaches occur because there is inflammation right around your affected tooth. In this case, the dentin in the patient’s teeth tends to become sensitive so the inflammation creates so much pain.

  • Swollen, Bleeding Gums

According to the experts, not all tooth cavities are similar. This means some settle near your gum line and this is where they specifically exhibit signs and symptoms in gums themselves.

Therefore, whenever you notice that your gums are bleeding randomly or preferably when you floss or brush, or look inflated then you might be having a tooth cavity. This type of tooth cavity is known as gingivitis, so keep regular professional dental check-ups before the issues worsen up.

  • Discoloration

As we discussed earlier cavities are signs and symptoms of tooth decaying and getting damaged. Therefore, if your cavity gets too bad, the most probably thing to appear is that it begins exhibiting itself substantially on the teeth.

So, when you start noticing some dark spots some of your teeth black or brown cavity development might be the issue coming up. The dental experts advise you to specifically watch the spots which grow in long-lasting size.

In this case, some spots might be even off-white, light color. As your tooth decay advances your stain might bigger and darker watch out.

  • Biting pain

We have already discussed the general pain however when you notice persistent pain whenever you bite something you are likely to develop a cavity. Besides, someone might have the general pain together with this, which gets worse after biting down or chewing.

According to the experts, this becomes common in tooth cavities located at the back of someone’s mouth. Unfortunately, the pain may excruciate forcing the patient to eventually change your process of eating food entirely

Realated: How To Get Rid Of Cavities Safely?

When to see your dental professional?

Whenever you notice some of the above possible signs, consider making an appointment to go to your dentist. Further, if you feel sweet sensitivity or abnormal temperature which lingers when you are having a toothache, see the dentist. Overall, staining, toothache, or any of the above signs which is not going away is among the top reasons for visiting the dentist.

  • Weird taste, bad breath

In most case when you have tooth cavities, the dental experts claim that the patients have bacteria in the mouth on the affected tooth. Thus, this is the bacteria which produce waste which has big effect on your tooth.

In this case, you may start noticing bad breath in your mouth, foul taste time to time. Besides, the taste and smell may be a bit hard to hide and as time continues it becomes a bit embarrassing to open the mouth when you’re in group of people.

Overall, if you start noticing some changes on your breath, taste or preferably the loved ones tell you about it pay attention. Because they are different causes of the bad breath your dental professional will tell what exactly major cause of your bad breath if not cavity.

  • Hole in the tooth

You can remember the discussion about discoloration. Well, a hole in patient tooth is often evolution of that specific discoloration. This occurs when decay in patient someone teeth get extremely bad, it eventually breaks down turning to a painful and sensitive hole in someone tooth.

Typically, you can notice such a hole in a mirror or even feel it using the tongue. However, in some case, you might not see or feel the hole due to may be location. This sure sign and symptom that you have tooth cavity which need to get filled any soon.

How to tell if you have cavities Final verdict

Based on the experts, tooth cavities are one of the common issues we have here in the United States of America. They start small but they may lead to tooth decay and more serious issues when left untreated. The sooner we get checked, the more successful and less invasive your treatment will be.


  • Kathie Miller

    Kathie Miller has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best share evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public eye. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible, and engaging to our readers.

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