Signs and Symptoms of a Cavity

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  • April 30, 2020
  • When you chew food, a little bit of it remains stuck on the surface of the tooth. Food particles can get stuck on top of the tooth where there are groves, at the sides where it is hard for a toothbrush to reach or at the bottom of the tooth where the gum is. Regular brushing and flossing remove food from the teeth. However, when a person is not keen on oral hygiene, these food particles can begin to build up around the tooth. The combination of food and bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which is a sticky film on the teeth.

    The bacteria in plaque normally release acid, which can erode the top coating or the surface of the tooth, commonly referred to as the enamel. The more the plaque builds up, the more it begins to eat into the tooth and create a hole in the tooth medically termed as a tooth cavity. If a cavity is not treated, it can erode the whole tooth, prompting the doctor to remove it. Cavities can also cause infections in the bloodstream.

    Cavities are very common in children, especially those that like sugary treats and do not care to properly brush their teeth. Once cavities start forming, they may experience some of the following symptoms:


    Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Foods

    The acid from plaque can eat away the enamel of a tooth and expose the next layer of the tooth known as the dentin. The dentin is more porous and is unable to shield the nerves from picking the sensitivity of hot or cold drinks in the mouth. Whichever tooth has a surge of pain whenever you take something cold or hot probably has a cavity or is developing one.



    One of the most common signs of a tooth cavity is a pain in and around the mouth. Other than sensitivity to hot and cold foods, a person with a cavity might also experience pain when they chew. Some people with cavities have a general discomfort whenever they put something in the mouth. Sometimes, the pain can come out of nowhere even when not eating and this is another sign of a cavity.


    Stained Teeth

    When cavities begin to develop, they first appear as whitish spots on the tooth surface. This discoloration might not be alarming, however, as the cavity continues to form, the spot will continue to become larger. This is an indication of tooth decay. The stain can progress to brown and eventually black.


    Swelling and Bleeding Gums

    Cavities near the gum line can affect the gum tissues near the tooth and cause them to bleed or swell. The bleeding occurs mostly during brushing. Although this could be a sign of a cavity developing, it is also a sign of gingivitis. Either way, the person should visit the dentist.


    Craters or Holes in the Teeth

    If a person suspects that they have a cavity but continues to ignore the above signs, they eventually develop the last sign and final indication of a cavity, which is a hole in the tooth. The hole is visible to the human eye and can be felt by the tip of the tongue.


    For further information, visit Courthouse Art of Dentistry in Arlington, Virginia. We will diagnose and treat tooth cavities so that you can get back to your normal life and smile. Feel free to book an appointment with us. Call us at (703) 260-9600.