Are Cavities Always Painful?

Cavities are damaged areas on your teeth that are the result of tooth decay. If left untreated, a cavity will progress to the point that it can take over your tooth, and may require root canal therapy or an extraction.

Unfortunately, cavities are common among children and adults alike, with 91 percent of adults in the United States between the ages of 20-64 having at least one cavity [1]. Most people aren’t aware that they have a cavity developing, and don’t find out until they visit their dentist or experience some type of discomfort.

But are cavities always painful? Here’s what you need to know!

Cavities Often Don’t Become Painful Until They’ve Progressed

Cavities form in stages, with the beginning stage being enamel damage that you likely won’t notice and can usually only be spotted by a professional dentist. You might notice some tooth sensitivity, but most people don’t have any symptoms early on in the cavity formation process [2].

By the time your cavity is painful or causes enough discomfort for you to take notice, it’s likely that the cavity has gotten fairly large. This is why regular dental checkups are so important—your dentist can spot a cavity forming and, in its very early stages, may even be able to help reverse it!

What Signs and Symptoms Should You Look Out For?

There are some signs and symptoms that you can be aware of when it comes to tooth decay, although again, they may not become apparent until the cavity has progressed significantly.

These signs and symptoms could include:

A mild to severe toothache [3]
Tooth sensitivity
Sudden, sharp pain in your tooth
Brown or otherwise discolored areas on the surface of the tooth (including chalky white
areas)

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist to see what the problem could be. While most often related to tooth decay, these indicators could point to another problem with your smile, such as gum disease, a tooth abscess or infection, and enamel damage.

Regular Dental Checkups Can Prevent Cavities!

Getting regular dental checkups as recommended by your dentist can not only help prevent cavities from forming, but catch them early to minimize any treatment you may need for your tooth. Get in touch with your professional dentist to check for tooth decay and learn more about how you can help prevent cavities with the right oral care habits!

Sources:
1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db197.pdf
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/symptoms-causes/syc-
20352892
3. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/top-dental-symptoms

Summary
Are Cavities Always Painful?
Article Name
Are Cavities Always Painful?
Description
Most people aren’t aware that they have a cavity developing, and don’t find out until they visit their dentist or experience some type of discomfort. But are cavities always painful? Here’s what you need to know!
Author
Centreville Dental Wellness Center