7 Signs Or Symptoms Of Tooth Decay

1 Nov
7 Signs Or Symptoms Of Tooth Decay

7 Signs Or Symptoms Of Tooth Decay You Should Not Ignore

By looking out for some early signs and symptoms of tooth decay you may be able to catch any cavities early.  Thankfully, tooth decay can be treated by your dentist - and of course, the best line of defence is brushing and flossing daily and having regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Tooth decay is a lot more common than you might imagine.  If you are experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms, it might be time to schedule that dental appointment and have the problem investigated further. Here are 7 signs or symptoms of tooth decay:


One of the most common signs that tooth decay may be forming or has caused a cavity is tooth pain.  This pain can vary from person to person and in its severity.  For some, one of the first signs of tooth decay is a niggly or dull pain.   Others report they feel a throbbing sensation around the affected tooth.  The pain may be continual or intermittent, sometimes over days or weeks.

At the early stages of tooth decay the pain may be quite mild.  You might not even experience pain at all.  While this may sound less alarming, it causes other issues - such as making it harder to detect the decay at all.

Ask yourself: Is the pain constant?  Is the pain only when eating or drinking.  Does it occur when you talk, are active or when you are doing nothing?  Perhaps the pain just keeps on going?  These are some of the questions the dentist may ask you when determining if you have a cavity and tooth decay.

Pain should not be ignored.    Take note of the severity of the pain you have, when it occurs and how long it lasts.

Gum Problems

Having healthy gums is an integral part of overall good oral health.  So, when your gums start to hurt or bleed it's time to get them checked out.

In advance cases, indicators of tooth decay include your gums being swollen, or they hurt when you brush them.  Sometimes, gums can get infected and they start to ooze pus.  This is very serious and should not be ignored.

Teeth Sensitivity

Have you noticed some sensitivity in your teeth lately?

It is quite normal to feel some discomfort when you eat or drink certain things. If this is only on a few occasions it may not be an issue.  But if your teeth are regularly sensitive to temperature changes and react when you eat something sweet you are experiencing teeth sensitivity.

Sometimes, sensitive teeth can be a symptom of tooth decay.  What is occurring is that the dentin layer of your tooth has been exposed due to tooth decay. A healthy tooth has a protective layer called enamel.  This is a white outer coat that protects the nerve of your tooth.  When the enamel breaks down due to the tooth decay (i.e. cavities form) reaching the dentine layer and later the nerve, your nerve gets exposed.  This means that when you introduce a hot or cold food or drink, you get an immediate sensation which can range from mild tingling to pain.  Over time if the decay is not addressed, the pain will increase and you may even loose the tooth or need to consider root canal treatment.

Unpleasant Taste In Your Mouth

Have you noticed that you keep getting a bad taste in your mouth no matter how often you brush and floss? The reason could be that you have a dental infection.

Tooth decay may have caused an abscess.  An abscess forms when bacteria has impacted the nerve of your tooth, so it needs to be treated as soon as possible.   This will halt the advancement of the active tooth infection.

You Have Bad Breath

Closely related to having bad taste in your mouth is the sensation that you have bad breath.   The bad breath may be persistent and exist even after you have brushed your teeth.   It's important to note that bad breath can stem from a cavity that you may not even be aware exists.

After tooth decay has impacted the tooth, food can get trapped in the cavity which then causes an odour.  Bacteria enters the cavity and nestles itself into the tooths soft inner layer.  This can mean your tooth starts to decay which causes the odour or bad breath to result.

A dental checkup is your first step to tackle bad breath.

The Colour of Your Tooth Has Changed

A change in the colour of your tooth may indicate a cavity exists or is forming in your tooth.

Tooth decay can look like brown or black stains on the grooves of your teeth.  If your tooth has been damaged by decay and is getting weaker,  you might see white or yellow spots forming in the area that is being impacted by the bacteria.  White spots can also be an early sign of tooth decay.

In contrast, where you see darker spots, it may be a sign that the cavity has been untreated for a prolonged period and that that the bacteria has actually started to impact the tooth's structure.  This means there has been some softening or dissolving of the tooth structure.

Pain From Pressure On Your Tooth

Another sign that you have tooth decay is the sensation of pain on your teeth when chewing food or biting.

Typically, when you eat or bite you should not experience pressure.  If you do, this could indicate you may have tooth decay.

You Can See Or Feel Pits Or Holes In Your Teeth

In time, tooth decay will cause a pit or hole to develop in your teeth.  Once this has happened, it means the tooth has been permanently damaged.  At this stage you need a dentist to examine your tooth and determine the scale of the damage and what treatment is appropriate.

Make An Appointment Today

Be informed and vigilant about your tooth and gum health and stay on top of any tooth decay well before it starts to cause any lasting damage.  If you have noticed signs or have symptoms of tooth decay call our friendly staff today on (08) 8268 5422.


49 Woodville Road

Woodville, SA 5011

(08) 8268 5422

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