The signs and symptoms of cavities and tooth decay vary depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all.
Tooth decay does not cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage, usually until you have a cavity or infected tooth. This is why it is important to have regular check-ups with your dentist. Tooth decay is much easier to treat successfully in its early stages.
Adults over 18 should have a check-up at least once every two years. People under the age of 18 should have a check-up at least once a year.
Factors that Contribute to Tooth Decay:
- Low fluoride;
- A condition called xerostomia, or dry mouth, where the body does not make enough saliva;
- Tooth defects;
- Poor dental care.
Symptoms of Advanced Stage Include:
- Toothache, which is the most common symptom. An infection or irritation of the tooth pulp usually causes the pain;
- Bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth;
- White, gray, brown, or black spots on the teeth;
- Loose fillings;
- A broken tooth or a tooth that is sensitive to pressure.
The Pain May Become Worse When You:
- Eat sweets;
- Eat hot or cold foods or drink hot, cold, or acidic liquids, such as citrus drinks;
- Chew food or gum;
- Breathe in cold air;
- Brush your teeth.
The most common complication occurs when tooth decay reaches the nerve, the root, and the area at the base of the tooth. When this happens, the tooth may die and, if left untreated, an abscess can develop.