Cavities: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Cavities is the common term used to refer to dental caries. Cavities are common in certain areas of the teeth, including the areas in between the teeth and next to the gum line.

Cavities do not always produce symptoms and signs. When they do cause signs and symptoms, these can include visible holes in the tooth. When a cavity becomes large or deep, associated symptoms and signs can include toothache, tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, pain when chewing, or even tooth loss if a portion of the tooth break apart.

Cause of cavities

Cavities are holes in the teeth that form due to tooth decay. A combination of bacteria in the mouth and consuming a diet high in starch and sugar cause tooth decay.

Other cavities symptoms and signs

  • Pain When Chewing
  • Toothache
  • Tooth Loss
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Visible Holes in the Teeth


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.