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Spotting Trouble: What Does A Cavity Look Like?

Cavities are among the most common and troublesome dental issues people face. Cavities, otherwise known as dental caries, are decayed areas in the teeth that require timely detection and treatment. Spotting cavities early can save you from unnecessary pain, discomfort and costly dental procedures.

If you’re wondering, “What does a cavity look like?” you’re not alone. Most people don’t know they have a cavity until symptoms become nearly impossible to ignore. In this blog, we’ll explore what causes cavities, how to identify them before they become a more significant concern and everyday steps you can take to help prevent them.

What causes cavities?

Cavities are primarily caused by a combination of factors, with plaque and bacteria playing pivotal roles. When consuming sugary and starchy foods, they interact with the bacteria in our mouth, forming a sticky film called plaque. This plaque gradually eats away at the enamel, the protective outer layer of our teeth. Over time, this leads to the formation of cavities.

If left untreated, cavities can cause mild to severe symptoms. What do cavities look like when they first start, you might ask? In the early stages, you may experience sensitivity or pain when consuming hot, cold or sweet food and beverages. As the cavity progresses, the pain may intensify, and you may notice visible holes or pits on the affected teeth. In worse cases, the decay can spread to the tooth’s inner layers, causing infections, abscesses and potential tooth loss.

What do cavities look like — Identifying the early signs

What does a cavity look like? Identifying a cavity in its early stages is crucial for timely intervention. However, cavities can sometimes be sneaky and not show obvious symptoms until they have advanced significantly. Signs to look out for include:

  • Visible discolouration — One of the most noticeable signs of a cavity is a visible change in the affected tooth’s colour. You may notice white, brown or black spots or stains on the enamel surface.
  • Holes or pits — As the decay progresses, small holes or pits may appear on the tooth’s surface. These can be seen as small indentations on the affected tooth.
  • Tooth sensitivity — If you experience discomfort or pain while consuming certain foods or beverages — particularly those that are hot, cold or sweet — it could be a sign of a cavity.
  • Toothaches — If you’re experiencing an aching sensation in your tooth and are poking your tongue against it, it may be a sign of a cavity.
  • Swollen or bleeding gums — Are your gums red or swollen, particularly those close to the tooth line? Are your gums bleeding? If so, you may have a cavity.
  • Bad breath — While experiencing bad breath after eating garlic, tuna or other strongly scented food makes sense, you should not suffer from bad breath even after brushing your teeth or using mouthwash. Bad breath could indicate a cavity’s presence, while persistent bad breath is a sign of gum disease.

Be mindful that cavities can occur in tooth gaps or chewing surfaces, making them difficult to spot with the naked eye. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can help detect cavities in these hidden areas.

Preventing cavities — tips to support your oral health

Prevention is always better than cure — the same applies to cavities. Practising good oral hygiene practices daily can go a long way in preventing cavities. Here are some tips for maintaining excellent dental health:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day — Brush your teeth thoroughly for at least two minutes twice daily. Ensure you clean all surfaces of your teeth and your tongue.
  • Flossing daily — Regular flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and the gum line, where a toothbrush cannot reach effectively.
  • Limiting sugary and starchy foods — Minimise your intake of sugary and starchy foods, as they nourish the bacteria responsible for cavity formation.
  • Using mouthwash — Gargle with antibacterial mouthwash to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and promote fresher breath.
  • Visiting your dentist every six months — Regular dental check-ups are essential to spot cavities early and address any dental concerns promptly.

What do cavities look like on an X-ray?

Examining your teeth exterior is nowhere near good enough to locate problems lurking beneath the surface. At No Gaps Dental, we administer dental X-rays so you can detect cavities early on and any other problems lurking in your bones, jaw and hard tissue region.

Book a consult with No Gaps Dental to get ahead of any tooth cavities

Proactive dental care and early detection are the keys to maintaining a healthy smile and preventing the complications associated with cavities. By staying informed and following the tips in this blog post, you can ensure your dental health remains in excellent condition for years to come. If you’re worrying, asking yourself, “What do minor cavities look like?” leave it to the experts at No Gaps Dental.

Our dentists will take the time to get to know you and provide you with a personalised treatment plan to suit your needs. We don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to our patients. From dental crowns to fissure sealants, we offer various services to accommodate your needs. Book an appointment at your local clinic today for a deep scale and clean. We offer great prices without compromising on our top-quality service.

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