West 85th Dental
8561 8A Ave SW Calgary AB T3H 0V5 (403) 246-5545

(587) 355-4332

chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down x phone location share chevron-thin-right calendar left-quote right-quote black-star-glasses-png eye book-appointment-maroon-icon-(1) types-of-services-white-icon-(1) location-white-icon next2 previous2 forward3 backward2 facebook twitter linkedin2
tooth-pain-cavity-woman-min Hero

What Does a Cavity Feel Like?

Book Appointment

A cavity is a hole in a tooth caused by the buildup of plaque that eats away tooth enamel. They’re common in children, but adults can also experience this common dental issue. We can look for signs of cavities during a dental exam and recommend treatment based on your oral health. But the question is, what does a cavity feel like, and how can you know if you have one?

A cavity can cause sensitivity when you eat hot, cold, and sweet food or general pain when you bite and chew—or at random times throughout the day. If you notice these signs, it may be a good time to schedule a dental exam.

What Is a Cavity?

Cavities are essentially holes in your teeth caused by tooth decay. They can be the culprit behind toothaches and spoil an otherwise enjoyable day. 

Plaque, a sticky bacterial film, forms on teeth regularly. If it isn’t removed daily through brushing and flossing, the bacteria in plaque can erode your outermost tooth layer, your enamel, and form tiny holes. Over time, cavities can grow deeper and broader as the tooth decay progresses.

Untreated cavities can lead to more severe dental issues too, such as gum disease, abscesses, and tooth loss. Factors that can increase your risk of cavities and tooth decay include:

  • Eating or drinking meals that are high in sugar and carbs
  • Not getting enough fluoride, which can help make teeth more resistant to tooth decay
  • Smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products
  • Medications or health conditions that decrease saliva flow
  • Diabetes
  • Not brushing or flossing regularly
  • Not seeing your dentist for regular checkups at least every 6 months.

Cavity Signs & Symptoms

Early cavity symptoms may be hard to detect, as they don’t always initially cause pain or discomfort. However, early detection is vital for efficient treatment and preventing future dental problems.

Common cavity symptoms include:

  • Toothaches and sensitivity, especially when consuming hot, cold, or acidic food and drinks.
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Teeth discolouration, such as white, grey, brown, or black stains
  • Swollen or tender gums
A dentist looks inside a patient's mouth to check for any cavities

How Can a Dentist Treat Cavities?

Cavity treatments can vary based on the severity of decay and damage, but typically, early intervention is simpler than later repair. Be proactive about your oral health, and visit your dentist immediately if you suspect you have a cavity.

Dental Fillings

A filling is a common treatment for cavities. This treatment involves removing the decayed part of your tooth and replacing it with a filling material, such as composite resin, porcelain, ceramic, or metal amalgams such as gold or silver.


When a decayed tooth is too large to be repaired with a filling, your dentist may recommend a crown. A dental crown is a cap that’s placed over a decayed or weakened tooth to strengthen it and help prevent further damage. Much like fillings, dentists can make crowns from various materials, such as metal, composite, porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal.

Root Canal

If a cavity has spread to your tooth’s pulp or nerve, a root canal may be required. Root canals involve removing infected tissue from a tooth and filling your tooth with a special material. Root canals are typically the last attempt to save an infected tooth.

Tooth Extraction

If a cavity has severely damaged your tooth or has caused a severe infection, your dentist might recommend a tooth extraction. Tooth extraction is the process of removing a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. Although dentists usually only recommend tooth extraction as a last resort, it is sometimes necessary to protect the rest of your teeth and gums from infection.

Your dentist can discuss tooth replacement options with you after a tooth extraction as well, including dental implants, bridges, or dentures.

Tips for Preventing Cavities

Preventing cavities may seem like a daunting task, but it can be easier than you think! With proper dental care, it may even be possible to avoid cavities altogether. Here are some tips to reduce your risk of tooth decay and make cavities history for you and your family:

  • Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Cut down on sugary foods and drinks
  • Check your mouth for signs of gum disease
  • Quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption
  • Make water your drink of choice
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months

Start teaching your kids about oral hygiene when they’re young. You can help prevent early childhood tooth decay by reinforcing the importance of oral hygiene and encouraging your child to drink water. 

When you’re teaching your children to brush their teeth in the morning and at night, you may need to help younger kids who can’t yet hold a toothbrush by themselves.

Protecting Your Family’s Smile in SW Calgary

A cavity can be painful and uncomfortable if ignored. Cavity symptoms may not always be noticeable, so it’s crucial to maintain good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly. Prevention is key in the fight against cavities, and regular checkups with our team at West 85th Dental can help detect cavities early and prevent further damage to your teeth.

If you suspect someone in your family has a cavity, book an appointment with us! By caring for your family’s oral health today, you’re supporting brighter smiles and happier teeth for years to come.


  • Categories
  • Written by West 85th Dental

    More Articles by West 85th Dental

    Our Services

    Our Location


    • 2110, 8561 – 8A Ave, SW,
    • Calgary, AB T3H 0V5

    Contact Number


    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    7:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

    *open 2 Saturdays a month

    See What People Are Saying About Us

    chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax