Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, cavities and dental caries develop on hard surfaces of teeth. These cavities can be in the form of holes, pits, dark stains. The hard enamel of the teeth gets infected with bacteria and the teeth are left exposed.

Tooth decay is one of the world’s most common dental problems. It is caused by poor oral hygiene, lack of dental care and is common in all age groups; be it children, teenagers or adults. Natural wear and tear of the teeth can cause it to decay overtime. However, poor nutrition with high sugar diet, carbonated drinks and frequent snacking can leave the teeth vulnerable to cavities.

Caries and cavities start as benign tooth problems and slowly develop into severe tooth decay. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of tooth decay so that early dental intervention may be practiced.

Consistent Toothache

A decaying tooth will slowly make itself known with spontaneous pain that comes and goes. It will slowly develop into sharp aches till it reaches consistent and throbbing toothaches.

Tooth Sensitivity

Your teeth will become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Any hot drink or cold ice cream will cause tenderness in the tooth that has a cavity. The decaying tooth will feel painful to touch as well.

Painful Chewing

Any hard or soft food will be hard to bite into and chew as the tooth starts to decay. Extreme painful pressure will be experienced every time you close your mouth for chewing. You will slowly start to stay away from hard fruits and nuts and incorporate more fluids in your diet.

Holes and Pits on Teeth

The decaying process will start with holes and pits being formed on the teeth surface. You will be able to see visible pits and deformities in the ridges of your teeth. The teeth will slowly start to chip and crack leading to holes. Running your tongue over the decaying tooth will confirm the unnatural hollowness of the teeth.

Dark Stains on Teeth

Dark brown, black, grey or white spots and stains on the teeth will be visible to the naked eye. The pits, grooves and ridges of the teeth will have small black caries that will deepen and rot into cavities. If left untreated, the cavities will deepen and cause holes inside the teeth, leading to severe tooth decay.

Pus Surrounding Tooth

In extreme tooth decay, the gums surrounding the cavity filled tooth will also become infected. A pus pocket will form surrounding the tooth which will be red, inflamed and tender. The pus pockets may even burst after rigorous brushing of the teeth. This will release toxic abscess into the mouth which can lead to more oral issues.

Bad Breath

A consistent bad odor will emit from your mouth. No matter how many times you brush your teeth and refresh your breath with mouthwash, the mouth odor will persist.


A dentist will be able to treat tooth decay by cleaning the cavities and applying dental fillings. If the tooth decay is too severe and has infected the root of the teeth, a root canal treatment will be needed to clean the abscess inside the tooth and seal the tooth with filling and a dental crown if necessary.

Contact us for high quality dental services in Bethesda, MD. We run a family dental practice that is devoted to promoting oral health through patient education and preventative treatments. Call us at (301) 654-1887 and avail emergency dental care Bethesda, dental white fillings and dental crowns to treat cavities and tooth decay.


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