How to Tell if You Have a Cavity

How to Tell if You Have a Cavity

Cavities are believed to be one of the most widespread diseases in the world. Most people have had at least one in their life and, although the incidence of cavities is decreasing over time, there is no question that they will always be present to some degree. If you think you might have a cavity, you should seek your dentist’s advice, as he or she is the only one who can diagnose a cavity. But if you just can’t wait or can’t see a dentist, here are some steps to see if you might have a cavity.

Step 1:

Sensitive Tooth
Sensitive teeth hardly mean you definitely have a cavity, because sensitive teeth are very common. However, if you have just one sensitive tooth, and it is bothered by cold drinks, hot drinks, or sweet foods routinely, this is a sign that there may be a cavity in that tooth.

Step 2:

Discolored Spot on Tooth
Again, not all discolorations equate to cavities, as many teeth—particularly molars—may have staining that is more or less present all the time. Cavities on the biting surface of a tooth usually appear as a small black or dark brown spot. Cavities on the sides of back teeth and outside surfaces of front teeth are more frequently a dull orange.

Step 3:

Pain When Biting Down
Because a cavity causes an opening into the more sensitive, inner part of a tooth, the tooth itself is weakened. Thus, many people feel pain when biting down on a tooth with a cavity. If the pain is severe when biting down, it could be a sign of more serious issue, like an abscessed tooth.
Because cavities and the symptoms they present are so common, it can be hard to say for sure if you have a cavity based on a home examination alone. As always, it is best to get your dentist’s diagnosis so that the cavity can be treated as soon as possible.
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The Author



Ivan is a Dental School student on his way to become a Prosthodontist. Originally from Bulgaria, Ivan speaks 3 languages.


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