Cavity Warnings Signs

Cartoon of a lady in the dental chair for a preventive exam and cleaning.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Cavities (tooth decay) are a common dental problem. While children are the ones most likely to get cavities, anyone can experience tooth decay! There are a handful of risk factors such as poor oral hygiene or a diet high in carbs and other sugars. How do you know if you have a cavity? Here are the main warning signs.

Tooth Pain

Toothaches are the most recognized cavity warning sign. The pain can vary from a dull ache to an intense, throbbing pain that radiates through your mouth and jaw. You may feel persistent pain or only occasional discomfort when you bite down. Once you notice pain and determine it isn’t caused by something you can floss out of your tooth, please contact us as soon as you can.

Sensitivity to Temperature

Your teeth have a hard outer layer called enamel. As cavities form, this layer wears down and exposes the dentin layer. The dentin layer is sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. If you notice a short, sharp pain when you eat or drink something cold or hot, that’s sensitivity. The discomfort can linger for a while. Tooth decay isn’t the only thing that causes sensitivity, but it’s something to be aware of.


When tooth decay is more advanced, you can see it on your teeth. Cavity discoloration often appears as a brown, black, or gray spot on your teeth. Watch it to see if it grows larger. It can be tricky to see the difference between a normal stain and cavity discoloration. By the time a cavity is visible, you’re most likely experiencing other symptoms, too.

Bad Breath

When you have a cavity, you’ll have more bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produces unpleasant smells that normal brushing and flossing can’t get rid of. You may taste something unpleasant, as well. If your breath is worse than usual, you may have a cavity.

Avoid & Treat Cavities at Willow Smiles Dentistry in Puyallup, WA

Brushing, flossing, and regular trips to the dentist can help you avoid cavities! Drs. Zorawar and Dilpreet Singh identify areas in your mouth that need more attention and diagnose cavities before they start bothering you. If you do end up with some tooth decay, we offer restorative treatments like tooth-colored fillings. Have questions or want to schedule an appointment? Please contact us today!

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