While many people realise that darkened areas in the teeth may indicate a cavity, there are other symptoms as well. Some early warning symptoms of a cavity include:
- Experiencing pain while chewing, especially when pain is concentrated on a certain tooth.
- Feeling sensitivity or pain when consuming cold or hot foods. Likewise, sensitivity to sweets will also cause mild pain when cavities are present.
- The development of chips of cracks on the teeth. When decay occurs, it destroys the underlying tooth foundation, which causes teeth to become brittle and break.
- The appearance of dark areas on teeth or darkening of an entire tooth.
- The occurrence of white spots or chalky areas on the teeth, which is an early warning sign that minerals are being lost.
Treating a cavity depends mainly on how far it has progressed. If the cavity is small and has not affected the structure of the tooth, a filling removes it and prevents additional damage. During a filling, a dentist removes the damaged portion of the tooth and fills it in with a dense filling material.
Cavities that are left untreated continue to worsen over time. Severe cavities cause the inner pulp of the tooth to die. In these cases, a root canal is required to repair the damage.