In the world of oral surgery, most problems don’t start as surgical ones. Many patients have a more basic issue, like a cavity, that is ignored and over time the problem compounds until it becomes surgical. The best and most common example of this is the cavity. 

Cavities are incredibly common and easy to treat if they are caught early. An untreated cavity can lead to root canals or worse. The problem is it’s difficult to spot a cavity for the untrained eye. That’s why so many patients come to dentists with the same question: what does a cavity look like? 

Part of being able to identify a cavity is understanding what a cavity is. A cavity is a term that refers to a small hole in a tooth. These holes often form due to tooth decay which can be caused by anything from diet to disease. 

Often, cavities are too small to spot with the naked eye. If a cavity is visible it will manifest as a dark spot on a tooth. The colour of the spot can range anywhere from a yellow to a brown or black. Although not all cavities can be spotted with the naked eye, they will appear on an x-ray. That’s one of the reasons dentists are so keen on updating x-ray images for their patients. 

Symptoms of a cavity differ from person to person but often manifest as tooth pain, sensitivity to extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and visible discoloration. Frustratingly, a cavity can be present without any of those symptoms manifesting. That’s why it’s so important to get regular teeth cleanings, not just for cavity prevention but for cavity identification too.

There are no foolproof methods for avoiding cavities, but a person can significantly lessen their chances by following basic dental hygiene advice. The most effective ways of doing so include avoiding sugar, brushing and flossing teeth regularly and getting consistent teeth cleanings at the dentist. 

Having a cavity is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is not something that should be ignored. A cavity can easily evolve into a much more complicated, and often painful, problem. To learn more visit


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