Signs and Symptoms of Cavities

The signs and symptoms of cavities and tooth decay vary depending on the extent and location of the cavity. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all.

But as the decay gets larger, it may cause such signs and symptoms as:
• Toothache
• Tooth sensitivity
• Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
• Visible holes or pits in your teeth
• Pain when you bite down
• Pus around a tooth

When to see a doctor

You may not be aware that a cavity is starting, so visiting your dentist regularly is your best protection against cavities and tooth decay. However, a toothache or tooth pain is commonly a telltale sign of a cavity. If your teeth or mouth hurts, visit your dentist as soon as possible. In addition to pain, contact your dentist if you develop any of these signs or symptoms:
• Red, tender or swollen gums
• Bleeding gums
• Gums that are pulling away from your teeth, which may make your teeth seem longer
• Pus around your teeth and gums when you press on the gums
• A bad taste in your mouth
• Unexplained bad breath
• Loose teeth
• Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth touch
• Sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold foods or beverages
• Pain that causes you to avoid brushing or cleaning certain teeth or areas

If a cavity is treated before it starts causing pain, you probably won’t need extensive treatment. That’s why it’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings even when your mouth feels fine. By the time you notice symptoms, the damage is getting worse.