May 18, 2021

What are the signs of a cavity? Here are some symptoms that may indicate you have a cavity and need a dentist


No matter what age or how many you have had or haven’t, cavities are no fun. And sometimes no matter how well you brush your teeth or how good of an oral hygiene routine you may have,  we can often find ourselves with a pesky and painful tooth to take care of. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this post we will explore the signs of a cavity. 

According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC)

  • Among adolescents aged 12 to 19, more than half (57%) have had a cavity in their permanent teeth.
  • Among adults aged 20 and older, about 90% have had at least one cavity.
  • 1 in 4 adults aged 20 to 64 currently has at least one cavity.

It’s never fun to be a statistic. So let’s start with some basics around what you should know about cavities and signs you should keep an eye on. 

What is a cavity?

In short, a cavity is a damaged part of your tooth that often will leave a small hole. It’s caused by tooth decay. Food and bacteria build in your mouth, which leads to plaque. The bacteria in plaque then eats away at the enamel, the protective layer, on your teeth. The longer this goes untreated, the more likely a cavity is to form. 

Cavities can form on the top, front, and back sides of any tooth. They can also form in between two teeth. We generally refer to the ones that form between the teeth as flossing cavities because most of the time they can be prevented by flossing. The other surfaces cavities affect can be prevented by brushing.

What causes cavities?

There are a variety of factors at play. One is good old genetics – it’s true that sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and dental health is one of those things. If you know you have a predisposition for bad teeth leaving you more susceptible to cavities, be proactive. Share the family history with your dentist, be extra mindful of sugary drink intake, spend some extra time brushing and flossing daily, and be on the lookout for early warning signs. Bacteria, tobacco, sugary foods and snacks, and overall poor dental hygiene can lead to cavities over the years. 

What are some of the warning signs of a cavity? 

You may have just one or all of these symptoms. If they progressively get worse, it may be time to see a dentist. 

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold food or beverages
  • Added sensitivity when consuming something sweet
  • Discoloration and staining on your teeth which may start as white spots
  • Possibly a visible pit or hole in your tooth
  • Toothache or pain
  • Pain when pressure is applied
  • Consistently bad breath

What happens if I leave a cavity untreated? 

If untreated, cavities can continue to grow and begin to affect deeper layers of your teeth and lead to infection and other oral complications, like permanent tooth loss. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and be proactive if you have a sneaking suspicion a cavity may be forming. 

Get Cavity Treatment in Coral Gables, FL

Thank you for reading our post “What are the Signs of a Cavity?” Think you have a cavity? Or just need to schedule a routine dental checkup? One of the best dental teams in the Coral Gables area, South Gables Dental, is here for all your dental health needs. 

Book Your Appointment



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