A cavity, also known as dental caries or tooth decay, is a common dental condition that results from the demineralization and destruction of tooth structure. While cavities may not be visible to the naked eye in their early stages, they can develop into noticeable features as they progress. Here’s a description of What Does a Cavity Look Like:
- Initial stages: In the early stages of a cavity, it may not be visually apparent. At this point, the damage occurs beneath the tooth’s surface, within the enamel or dentin. However, a dentist can detect early cavities using dental instruments, X-rays, or by visually examining the tooth.
- Discoloration: As a cavity progresses, it may cause visible changes in the affected tooth. The area affected by the cavity may appear as a white or brown spot on the tooth’s surface. The discoloration is a result of the demineralization and breakdown of the tooth structure.
- Darkened spots or holes: As the cavity advances, it can lead to the formation of darkened spots or holes on the tooth surface. These holes are the actual cavities, where the tooth structure has been destroyed. They may appear as dark or black areas on the tooth.
- Rough or pitted surface: A cavity can cause the tooth surface to become rough or pitted. When you run your tongue over the affected tooth, you may feel an uneven texture or roughness. This is due to the erosion of the enamel caused by the decay process.
- Sensitivity or pain: As a cavity progresses and reaches deeper layers of the tooth, it can cause sensitivity or pain. You may experience discomfort when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. The tooth may also become more sensitive to pressure or biting.
- Visible pits or craters: In advanced stages, larger cavities can create visible pits or craters on the tooth surface. These pits may have irregular shapes and can be deep or shallow depending on the extent of decay.
It’s important to note that cavities can vary in appearance depending on factors such as the location of the tooth, the individual’s oral hygiene, and the progression of decay. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial for early detection and treatment of cavities. Dentists are trained to identify and treat cavities effectively, even before they become visually obvious. If you suspect you have a cavity or have concerns about your oral health, it’s recommended to consult a dental professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.