Cavities are holes that develop in the enamel of your teeth. If you regularly inspect your mouth for oral health issues, you may be wondering whether or not cavities are visible.
Can you see cavities?
If a cavity has just developed, it may not be visible to the naked eye. However, if the cavity has been left untreated for a prolonged period, you may be able to see it. A cavity may appear as a spot of brown or black discoloration on a tooth. In cases where the cavity has become quite large, you may even see a hole.
How can cavities that are not easily seen be detected?
Cavities that are not easily seen during a visual inspection can still be seen on a dental x-ray. Your dentist will be able to see compromised areas of tooth enamel on the x-ray images.
How do cavities form?
Most cavities occur due to oral acids that dissolve the minerals in your tooth enamel. As the acid breaks down the enamel, a hole forms. If left untreated, the hole can deepen, affecting the underlying layers of the tooth.
The acids in your mouth are often produced by oral bacteria that release the acid when they feed on leftover food. However, acid can also be introduced by the foods and drinks that you consume. For instance, sodas are particularly acidic and damaging to the teeth.
Why is early detection of a cavity important?
Once a cavity has been detected, it can be treated. By filling a cavity early enough, you can prevent the hole from growing larger and stop the decay from spreading to your other teeth. When your dentist fills a cavity, he or she removes the decayed portions of your tooth and fills the hole with a suitable dental material.
If you believe that you have a cavity, schedule an appointment with our office to have your tooth assessed and treated.