What Does a Cavity Look Like

Cavities in their beginning stages are usually hard to detect. In most cases, you do not experience any symptoms. In simple terms, a cavity is basically a hole in one of your teeth caused by decay over time. Until certain symptoms become too obvious to ignore, you might not even realize you have a cavity. This article covers primarily:

  • What does a cavity look like when it first starts, inside or on the molar
  • Symptoms
  • Preventions and
  • When to see a doctor

It’s unavoidable that once you have a cavity, you’ll need a dentist to repair it. Taking good care of your teeth can help you avoid the need for a filling. Pay attention to early warning signs that something is wrong. Where do you look for cavities when there are so few early signs of tooth decay? Going to the dentist is the only way to detect cavities in the early stages. A dentist can easily identify cavities when an X-ray is taken periodically.

The enamel of your tooth may become whitish or chalky when you have a cavity. In severe cases, your tooth could be discolored brown or black.

How Does a Cavity Develop? and the Symptoms

Cavities form when the tooth is frequently subjected to acid. If you eat or drink frequently, especially foods and drinks containing sugar and starch. Your enamel continues to erode because of repeated acid attacks. If minerals have been lost, a white spot may appear. It is a sign of early decay.

More minerals are lost if no action is taken to reverse or stop the acid exposure. Eventually, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, resulting in a cavity. Cavities are permanent damages to the teeth that a dentist has to fill with a filling.

An indication of a cavity usually depends on what degree of seriousness the cavity is and where it is situated in the mouth. The symptoms of a cavity aren’t apparent until the decay is large enough to be noticeable.

An extremely small cavity can sometimes be impossible to detect without the assistance of a professional. Taking an X-ray of your teeth would be necessary to find it. It means you will require a dentist to check your tooth. Eventually, a cavity will start making itself known to you. Here are a few common signs and symptoms of a developing cavity that includes:

  • Tooth Sensitivity – You realize one of your teeth is more sensitive than the others. It happens most often during times of temperature change and while eating certain foods or beverages. You may experience a tingling sensation while drinking something hot or cold.
  • Toothache – You may experience pain or throb in your tooth. Sometimes you find yourself poking it with the tip of your tongue often. If you eat something hot, cold, or very sweet, your tooth pain may become particularly intense. You can take Tylenol for temporary relief if you have tooth pain.
  • Swelling or bleeding gums – You may see raw, swollen, or red gums. This is most likely around the affected tooth. You may even experience bleeding from your gums.
  • Hole in the tooth – There might be a tiny hole there. If you put your tongue over it, you might also feel a large crack or hole. It is likely that you’ll need some dental work if you notice a hole in your tooth.
  • Bad breath (Halitosis) – I can’t seem to get rid of my bad breath. No matter how often I brush my teeth or use mouthwash. Food particles can accumulate in cavities and serve as breeding grounds for bacteria. This can cause bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. A symptom of a cavity. Bad breath can also be caused by gum disease. Therefore, you should visit a dentist to determine the cause of bad breath.
  • Discoloration or dark spots on the tooth – The discoloration of teeth is another indicator of a cavity. The presence of a white, brown, or black spot or stain on a tooth may indicate decay. Consider having a dentist look into it if you’re concerned, even though it might be a natural stain.
  • Pus – Pus is an indication of a serious problem caused by a cavity. It has developed into an abscess. You could try natural antibiotics for tooth abscesses. Failing this a dentist can prescribe an antibiotic to stop the pus and prevent the abscess from getting worse.
  • Chips Or Broken Tooth – You might have a cavity if you have a chip or a break in your tooth. This can happen when you eat something hard or chewy like candy.

What Does a Cavity Look At the Start?

In some cases, you will see a whitish or chalky appearance on the enamel of your tooth when you first have a cavity. The white spots on your teeth indicate that you are losing minerals (demineralization). Healthy teeth usually contain these minerals.

Bacteria can breed on the food particles left behind on your teeth. The result is a thin, sticky coating near your gum line. This may contribute to gingivitis.

Cavities and decay are other effects of gingivitis on teeth. You will notice the gumline becoming tender. The tooth may begin to ache slightly. This is the most obvious sign that you are developing a cavity.

Symptoms are rare in most cases of cavities. A good oral hygiene regimen and preventive measures can, therefore, help you avoid cavities.

What Does a Cavity Look Like Between Teeth

Cavities between teeth are rarely seen by the naked eye. They are noticed mostly when they are very large or when teeth break. Dentists use X-rays to spot the cavities between teeth.

what does a cavity look like on an x-ray
Tooth cavity between teeth on X-ray

In reality, the cavities are larger than what looked in the X-rays. The reason is that X-rays are a 2-dimensional representation. Hence the healthy side of the tooth may reduce the visibility of the cavity.

What does a cavity look like on a molar? Decay occurs most commonly in the back teeth which are molars and premolars. Food particles get trapped in these teeth because they have many grooves, pits, and crannies as well as multiple roots. Thus, they are harder to keep clean than your softer, easier-to-reach front teeth.

What Does a Cavity Filling Look Like?

What Does a Cavity Look Like and Can it be reversed?

Initially, the dentist cleans out the cavity by removing all decay from the tooth. The cavity is then filled and sealed with tooth-colored fillings.

Dental amalgam fillings are commonly known as silver fillings. Dental amalgam fillings are used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It is a mixture of metals. Contains liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy. Powdered alloy is a mix of silver, tin, and copper.

By weight, dental amalgam contains about half (50%) of elemental mercury. As a result of its chemical properties, elemental mercury reacts with and binds together the silver/copper/tin alloy particles to form an amalgam.

First, the dentist drills the tooth to remove decay before placing dental amalgam. Afterward, the cavity is shaped in preparation for placing the amalgam. An amalgam putty can then be formed by mixing powdered alloy with liquid mercury under safe conditions. During the filling procedure, softened amalgam putty is placed and molded into the cavity, where it quickly hardens into a solid filling.

How to Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay?

Stay safe and secure

Cavities can be prevented and treated early when they are detected in their early stages. On a tooth, you might notice a white spot that indicates early decay. Losing minerals from the teeth. The damage can be reversed at this stage. Enamel can self-repair at this stage.

Cavities cannot be prevented if measures are not taken to reverse tooth decay. The enamel continues to get weaker as more minerals are lost. Cavities form in the long run, causing permanent damage. A dentist is the only one who can fix it.

The main aim should be to stop the loss of minerals from your teeth. Also, removing debris and bacteria from the teeth. This process helps the enamel of your teeth to repair itself and remineralize.

The actions or home remedies to prevent cavities and tooth decay include:

  1. Use toothpaste that has fluoride.
  2. Brush twice a day to remove food debris and bacteria from teeth and gumlines.
  3. Floss teeth every day.
  4. Reduce sugary foods.
  5. Mouthwash after eating.
  6. Drink fluoridated water every day.
  7. Sugar-free gums after meals help remineralize enamel.
  8. Intake of foods high in Vitamin D and Calcium.
  9. Oil pulling with coconut oil or sesame oil
  10. A regular visit to the dentist

When to See a Dentist

When to see Doctor for advice.

It is possible that you are unaware that a cavity is forming. Whether you feel your mouth is feeling fine or not, you should get regular dental checkups and cleanings. In any case, if you experience tooth pain or a headache, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Takeaway and FAQ

Preventive measures are a good way to reverse the cavity at the start. In addition, it will prevent cavities and protect the enamel’s minerals. However, prevention efforts cannot eliminate cavities already present. You can remineralize softened or weakened enamel before a cavity develops using these treatments.

Early detection of a cavity makes repairing it easier for your dentist. Visit your dentist regularly to avoid developing cavities in the future.

Can a cavity go away?

A cavity does not go away. A cavity does not heal on its own either. There is no way to treat a cavity with medication. However, if caught early enough, it can be reversed by maintaining good oral hygiene. The only other option is to have a silver filling done by a dentist.

What does a cavity look like at the beginning?

Usually, it is difficult to detect the beginning of a cavity. One may notice white spots on their teeth or around their gum line. This is caused by minerals being lost from the teeth. This contributes to tooth decay and cavities. Regular dental checkups could help you detect early signs of a cavity. You can also prevent cavities by maintaining good oral hygiene and following the home remedies listed.

How do I check myself for cavities?

Symptoms that indicate you have cavities include:

Tooth Pain
Tooth Sensitivity
Holes in Your Teeth
Dark Spots On Your Tooth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Chips Or Broken Tooth

If you experience any of the symptoms of a cavity approach a dentist for an appropriate remedy.

4 Sources:

Noble Home Remedies relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for accuracy and reliability while avoiding tertiary references. Our editorial policy provides more information about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date.

  1. The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity – Published in National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
  2. Davis CA Family Dentist | Cavities in real life and in X-rays – by James W Childress
  3. Dental Amalgam Fillings – Published in US Food and Drugs Administration
  4. Cavities/tooth decay – By Mayo Clinic
  5. 7 Proven Ways How to Tell If You Have a Cavity – By Dee Kay Dental
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