• 15 MAR 17
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    How Do I Know I Have a Cavity?

    How Do I Know I Have a Cavity?

    Cavities – they’re one of the most common types of dental ailment, yet they can be tricky to spot at home, without the tools and expertise of a dentist. Any slight pain in your teeth or sign of discomfort can bring up the worry – do I have a cavity?

    It can be hard to tell right off the bat, and you should always visit your dentist if you suspect there is something amiss with your teeth – but we’ve put together some important need-to-know information about cavities so you can get a better idea if you might have one.

    How Does a Cavity Form?

    Cavities are small holes in your teeth, usually caused by tooth decay.

    This decay is caused by carbohydrate-based foods such as bread, soda, fruit, and candy staying on your teeth and reacting with the bacteria in your mouth, turning them into acids. The acid, bacteria, food debris, and saliva in your mouth come together to form plaque, which clings to your teeth and dissolves the enamel, creating holes in your teeth.

    What Does a Cavity Feel Like?

    When a cavity first begins to form, it’s very possible that you won’t feel a thing, and you might not even know that you have one. Due to the fact that there are no nerves in your tooth’s enamel, any decay that occurs there won’t be felt.

    As the decay progresses and reaches past the enamel to the softer tissues inside of your teeth, where the dentin and nerves are, you may begin to feel the cavity at work. The most common sign is sensitive teeth. You will also likely feel some pain when eating sweets, or food that is particularly hot or cold. Depending on the severity of the cavity, the pain can range from very mild to sharp and intense.

    How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

    There are several warning signs that become apparent when you have a cavity. Experiencing pain is one of these symptoms, but there are other things you can watch for to ascertain whether or not you are suffering from a cavity.

    Inspect Your Teeth

    More developed cavities can cause visible holes or pits in your teeth, and you may also see white, black, or brown staining on the surface of your tooth. Inspect your mouth to look for visible signs of a cavity.

    Bad Breath and Bad Taste

    The increased bacteria in your mouth as a result of tooth decay can often lead to both bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth. While brushing your teeth and tongue thoroughly and regularly using mouthwash may help this to subside, chronic bad breath and bad taste could be signs of a cavity.


    If pus is visible, it is a serious sign that your cavity has developed into an abscess. This can lead to swollen glands, fevers, and pain, and should be treated immediately.

    How Are Cavities Treated?

    The treatment of cavities varies depending on the severity of the cavity. In most cases, a dentist will remove the decayed area of your tooth with a drill and fill the hole with either a silver alloy, gold, porcelain or composite resin filling.

    For badly decayed teeth, a crown may be necessary, and for cavities that have developed into an abscess, antibiotics may be required to combat the bacteria.


    If you think you may be suffering from a cavity, don’t hesitate to contact our Ipswich dentist today to talk with a professional.

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