How to Detect a Cavity Early

Cavities are among the most common types of decay you’ll encounter from sub-par brushing and flossing practices. Lingering food particles and bacteria will eat away at the enamel of the tooth, creating a small hole.

Beyond simple prevention and regular visits with a Dentist, the most important action you can take with cavities is to detect them early on. Cavities start out small and grow rapidly. Catching a cavity when it’s just beginning can be the difference between one visit to the Dentist and several.

By recognizing the signs of a cavity early on, you can make a dental appointment as soon as possible and head off more severe oral decay.

Visible Changes

Contrary to popular belief, cavities do not hurt immediately. This can make it difficult to detect them early, but you can look out for visible early warning signs. First, look for dark spots, or patches of unusual black or brown. You should also be on the lookout for overall discoloration of any of your teeth if the tooth is becoming altogether darker. Patches of chalky white on the enamel can also signal a cavity.

Another warning sign is that you might see reddish color and swelling around the gums, so inspect them closely when brushing and flossing.

Pain When Eating

If you notice any pain when you bite down or chew food, it’s a strong sign of an emerging cavity, especially if it’s isolated to a specific area or a single tooth. The pain from a cavity has most often been described as inconsistent or “jabbing”. This likely means that the enamel on your tooth has cracked, and you need to seek dental assistance immediately.

Tooth Sensitivity

Another sign of a cavity is heightened sensitivity. Are you feeling contact with your teeth a bit more? Do they feel delicate or vulnerable? This is an early warning sign of wear on your enamel. One of the biggest red flags is sensitivity to temperature. If any of your teeth feel uncomfortable when in contact with hot or cold materials like beverages, it is one of the major signs of an issue.

Aching and Random Dental Pain

Outside of contact-specific pain, a cavity can explain random discomfort or general aches. If your tooth ever hurts seemingly without cause, it could be an early sign of an emerging cavity beneath the enamel.

A Visible Hole

The last sign of a cavity is tough to spot, but the most clear-cut. If you’re noticing one or more of these issues, inspect the tooth or area in question for a tiny holy in the surface. Cavities can be invisible to the naked eye until they’re a major issue so you can’t wait until you see one, but in some cases, you’ll be able to spot it. This should be the absolute last sign you look for, and if you’re ever at the point where you’re looking for a hole, it means that you should visit your dentist immediately.

Whether you’re seeing any of these cavity warning signs or are looking to prevent one before it starts, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment, and our team of dental experts will be on hand to address your oral hygiene needs.


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Flemington, NJ 08822


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