How to Tell If You Have a Cavity

A cavity signifies permanent damage on the surface of your tooth that has grown into a tiny hole – so it’s always best to go straight to your dentist if you suspect you have one! But how do you know what a cavity looks or feels like? Read on to find out some of the strongest indicators that you’re experiencing tooth decay and need professional assistance…

Ongoing toothache

When a cavity first forms in your mouth, it doesn’t feel like anything. That’s because the outer layers of your teeth don’t house any nerve endings. Once the decay penetrates through to the inner layers, you’re likely to develop an ongoing toothache. If you’ve had a persistent toothache for some time or are just developing one now, it’s best to book in for a checkup with your dentist. 

Spontaneous tooth pain 

Sometimes a toothache doesn’t need to be persistent to signify the development of a cavity. If you experience sharp, random pain in a certain tooth on the regular, it could mean that the tooth is showing signs of decay. As bacteria build up in your mouth it becomes plaque, and plaque clings to your teeth creating acids that eat away at the outer layers. Spontaneous tooth pain means the nerve endings inside the tooth have been affected. 

Sensitivity and pain associated with certain foods

If your teeth have become significantly more sensitive in some areas, it indicates there could be something wrong. Consuming very hot, very cold, acidic, sticky or sugary foods and beverages will feel deeply uncomfortable if you have a cavity. Some giveaways for sensitivity include discomfort when consuming:

  • Fizzy drink
  • Juice
  • Ice cream
  • Lollies (especially hard or sticky lollies)
  • Ice cubes

Pain when biting

Experiencing pain when you bite down is another indication that there may be a cavity forming in one of your teeth. Putting any pressure on the affected tooth will cause a sharp jolt of pain if the pulp of your tooth is inflamed or infected. To avoid extracting the whole tooth it’s wise to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Visible holes 

If the cavity has progressed to a critical point, you will be able to actually see holes in your teeth. If you see a small white spot, your cavity is just beginning to form – but if it continues to erode and forms a pit, you’ll need dental assistance as soon as possible.


Finally, if you begin to notice brown, black or white stains on your teeth it’s a pretty strong sign of tooth decay. Cavities can trap strains from consumables and take on the appearance of stains on the surface of the teeth.

How can TLC help?

TLC Dental offers general dental check-ups and cavity filling services at all Perth metropolitan clinics. A filling is a simple treatment for tooth decay and can help mitigate the problem before extraction is required. 


Contact us today to find out more about dental fillings, cavities and tooth decay. 


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