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How We Tell When a Cavity is Present in Your Tooth

Posted on 10/14/2019 by Office
How We Tell When a Cavity is Present in Your ToothWhen you come and see us for your annual check-up, one of the first things we always look for is cavities and tooth decay. It's normal to build up some bacteria and gunk every 6 months.

Learning to know when you have early signs of a cavity is important. This allows you to schedule an appointment to receive treatment. When caught early we can reverse the decay and heal the tooth.

A Visual and Physical Inspection

During a visual inspection, our dentist will shine his light in all areas he can reach, looking for either dark stains that may be some plaque that can turn into a cavity. Another trick used to find a cavity is to place a mirror in the mouth's rear and shine a light on it, your teeth will allow the light to shine through unless there are darker areas that can be cavities, they will not let the light through creating a shadow.


Most often cavities are found by an x-ray. They are in those hard-to-see cracks between teeth or in the back molars. By using an x-ray you can catch tooth decay in its early stages and save a tooth. There is newer equipment being tested right now to replace the old school bite on a piece of film and have a picture taken. The new technology involves a small x-ray on a specific tooth area that limits the amount of radiation. Testing is not finished yet.

The way to tell if you have a cavity at home is visually inspecting sensitive teeth. If you have a mild, sharp pain while you're eating or drinking, it's an early red flag. If you have good light and a mirror, you can light up your teeth, they should be transparent to light. If you notice any stains or black spots, those are possible cavities.

If you notice any of these signs, immediately schedule an appointment with our staff. When enamel blemishes are caught early, we can reverse the decay and heal the tooth.
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