How Can I Identify a Cavity?

3 Minute Read: 

Cavities are the most common dental problems faced by children and adults. Cavities (dental caries, dental decay) are holes that develop in the hard surface of the tooth in response to bacteria and/or poor oral hygiene. 

Most people have experienced cavities at some point. When caught early, cavities can be addressed with simple fillings; however, when they are left alone, the decay can worsen, requiring more invasive treatment like root canals or tooth extraction. 

Young woman smiling, close up of teeth

What Can You Do to Diagnose Dental Caries Early?

Unfortunately, 90 percent of dental decay is undetectable to the patient with their naked eye. 

This means that most of the time, you will only notice the signs of a cavity (such as tooth pain) after it is already a problem. 

So, what’s the solution?

It’s very simple. Cavities can be kept at bay with diligent at-home oral hygiene and routine dental check-ups (meaning twice a year). During these appointments, Dr. Fiss can examine your tooth health using state-of-the-art technology and x-rays. These appointments are the only way to identify all dental decay.

Dr. Fiss offers DEXIS CariVu™ cavity detection technology to better identify and monitor cavities. This technology uses light energy (near-infrared transillumination) to let Dr. Fiss see through the tooth, identifying any porous lesions that require further treatment.

Dental cleanings are also performed during appointments to eliminate bacteria that causes plaque, which can lead to cavities.

What Are Some of the Symptoms Associated With Cavities?

While in-office appointments with Dr. Fiss, coupled with cavity detection screenings are the best ways to identify caries, there are some things to be on the lookout for between your appointments. 

1. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold

As the cavity damages the protective layer of your teeth (enamel), your nerves will become sensitive to cold and hot beverages or food, creating that feeling of discomfort.

2. Sensitivity to Sweet or Acidic Foods

There may be a lingering sensitivity when you eat sweet or acidic foods as well. This feeling is felt for seconds or even minutes after eating these foods, making it hard for you to enjoy your favorite treats.

3. Toothache

Typically, you will experience some pain when you have an untreated cavity. The pain can range from dull to debilitating and is a sign of possible inflammation around the affected tooth.

4. Stained Teeth

A cavity also manifests as opaque and dark spots on the infected tooth. If a dark spot appears on your tooth, it is possible that bacteria has begun to make its way into your enamel, and it is a matter of time before you begin to deal with serious tooth decay.

5. Pain When Biting Down

Sharp pain when biting down on something, whether soft or hard, is another sign of a cavity. It is an indication that the cavity has reached the tissues and pulp, causing damage to the connecting bone.

If you experience any of these, it may be the sign of a cavity or other dental problem. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Fiss right away.

Interested in Learning More?

Contact the dental office of Dr. Fiss at 312-642-6631 or fill our online form to set up an appointment for a dental check-up. 

Let us help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful for many years to come.