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How to Tell If You Have a Cavity: The Signs, Next Steps, and Treatment

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t enjoy going to the dentist. But if you think you may have a cavity, it’s important to visit your family dentist as soon as possible. Cavities can be tricky to diagnose because they often don’t cause any pain until they reach an advanced stage. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the signs of a cavity and what to do if you think you may have one. We’ll also cover the common treatments that are available and provide some helpful prevention tips!

What is a Cavity?

Cavities are small holes in your teeth. Cavities are caused by the buildup of plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed, it can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning at your dentist’s office. If plaque and tartar are not removed, they will continue to damage your tooth, causing a cavity.

What Are the Signs of a Cavity?

Pain in the tooth is the most common symptom of a cavity. However, pain is not always present in the early stages of a cavity. If you think you may have a cavity, watch out for these other signs:

Hot and Cold Sensitivity: If you have a cavity, you may notice that your tooth is sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. This is because the enamel, which is the hard outer layer of your tooth, has been damaged.

Lingering Sensitivity to Sweets: Cavities can also make your teeth sensitive to sweets. If you have a cavity, you may notice that sweet foods cause pain that lingers even after you’ve finished eating.

Pain if You Bite Down: You may feel pain when you bite down if you have a cavity. This is because the damage to your tooth makes it more sensitive to pressure.

Toothache: A toothache is another common sign of a cavity. If you have a toothache, it’s essential to see your dentist as soon as possible because it could be a sign of an infection.

Visible Holes or Pits: Cavities often start out as small holes or pits in your teeth. You may be able to see these holes if you look closely at your teeth in the mirror.

Stains on Surface of Tooth: Another sign of a cavity is stains on the surface of your tooth. These stains are usually yellow or brown and can indicate that the enamel has been damaged.

Have a Cavity? Follow These Steps!

Step 1: Make an appointment With Your Family Dentist

If you think you have a cavity, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with your family dentist. Only a professional can diagnose a cavity and determine the best course of treatment.

Step 2: Use Floride Products to Help Prevent More Cavities

You can also use fluoride products to help strengthen your teeth and help prevent cavities from happening to your other teeth. The mineral fluoride protects your teeth from decay. Many fluoride products are available, including toothpaste, mouthwashes, and gels. You can talk to your dentist about which product is right for you.

Step 3: Soothe Pain with Home Remedies

If you have a toothache, there are some home remedies that can help soothe the pain. One remedy is to rinse your mouth with warm water. You can also put a cold compress on your cheek to reduce swelling. If you’re in pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen.

What Are the Common Treatments for Cavities?

Typically, cavities are filled with a dental filling. A filling is used to restore the damaged tooth back to its original shape and size. Fillings are made from different materials, including gold, silver amalgam (a mixture of metals), and composite resin (a plastic material that looks like natural teeth). Your dentist will recommend the best type of filling for you based on the location and size of your cavity.

Another common treatment for cavities is a crown. A crown is used to cover the entire tooth and protect it from further damage. Crowns are usually made from porcelain or ceramic, making them look like natural teeth.

In some cases, a root canal may be necessary to treat a cavity. This is a more serious procedure that involves removing the damaged tooth pulp (the soft tissue in the center of your tooth) and replacing it with artificial material. Root canals are usually only necessary if the cavity has reached the nerve of your tooth or if there is an infection present.

Prevention Tips

There are some prevention tips that you can use to help prevent cavities from happening. One of the best things you can do is brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. This will help remove plaque, which is a sticky film that contains bacteria. You should also visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. A dentist can identify areas of concern during these appointments and provide treatment if necessary.

You can also help prevent cavities by eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary drinks. It’s also important to avoid tobacco products, as they can increase your risk of developing cavities.

Don’t wait to see your dentist if you think you have a cavity! Cavities can worsen over time and may eventually lead to more serious problems. By getting treatment early, you can help prevent further damage to your tooth.


If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve talked about in this blog post, please don’t hesitate to contact your family dentist. Cavities can be tricky to diagnose because they often don’t cause any pain until they reach an advanced stage, so getting checked out is important as soon as possible.

The good news is that cavities are a very treatable problem, and there are a number of different treatments available depending on their severity. We hope this blog post has been helpful, and we wish you all the best of luck in keeping your teeth healthy and cavity-free!

Contact us today to book your next appointment!

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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