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Cavities & Tooth Decay

Cavities and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems. Consuming certain foods and not practicing good dental habits are the most frequent ways to create an environment where cavities can form.

While particularly common among children and teens, cavities can impact the dental health of older adults, infants, or anyone with teeth. If left untreated, cavities can grow larger and affect deeper levels of your teeth, leading to toothaches, infections, tooth loss, and other health complications.

Regular visits to your dentist and adopting a consistent oral hygiene regimen of brushing and flossing are essential to treating and preventing cavities and tooth decay. Read on to learn all about cavities and how Habersham Dental can help to treat them.

Treating your cavity symptoms starts with a visit to Savannah’s most trusted dentist. Request your appointment now!

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is a hole in a tooth that forms due to tooth decay. Over time, the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth can develop cavities due to acids eroding, or breaking down, the hard outer layer of your teeth (known as the enamel). Sometimes dental cavities are known as caries.

What Does a Cavity Look Like?

Cavities and tooth decay have a few visible indicators — They are commonly identified by visible holes or pits in your teeth. They can also look like brown, black, or white stains on the surface of a tooth.

In its early stages, a cavity can look like white spots, and can often be fully healed. If left untreated, the spots can turn brown or black, and eventually, holes (cavities) can form on the surface of a tooth.

What Does a Cavity Look Like?
What Causes Cavities?

What Causes Cavities?

Tooth decay and the development of a cavity is a process that occurs over time. Cavities can form from a combination of factors, including not cleaning your teeth well, drinking sugary beverages, and frequently snacking on the wrong kinds of foods. Bacteria that live in the mouth feed on sugars and starches in foods like fruit, candy, cereal, bread, juice and sodas, and convert them into acids. The combination of the acids, bacteria, and saliva forms a substance called plaque, which coats the teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed from proper brushing and flossing, it can begin to dissolve tooth enamel, which creates holes in the teeth over time.

In the more advanced stages of a cavity, the acids and plaque work their way to the inner layers of your teeth, which can start to cause tooth pain and sensitivity. Eventually, it can reach the pulp of the tooth, where the nerves and blood vessels live. The pulp can then become irritated by the bacteria, causing an even deeper discomfort.

Cavity Symptoms

Because cavities are so common, it is easy for people to assume they don’t matter and not take them seriously. However, cavities and tooth decay are serious health issues that can cause lasting complications, even for children who don’t yet have permanent teeth.

Symptoms and complications of a cavity can include pain, damaged or broken teeth, chewing problems, swelling or pus around a tooth, or shifting teeth after tooth loss.

Other symptoms like bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth, facial swelling, bleeding gums, or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks can be early signs of tooth decay on the enamel.

In severe cases, signs of cavities and decay include prolonged pain and discomfort, weight loss and nutritional issues, severe infection, and tooth loss — which can affect your appearance and self-esteem.

Cavity Symptoms

How to Treat Cavities

Visiting your dentist consistently can help you identify cavities and other dental complications early on, thus saving you from a lot of time, pain, and money. No matter the condition, seeking care for a cavity as soon as possible can help you avoid discomforting symptoms and other serious health complications.

When it comes to cavities, if you can get it treated before it starts causing pain, the less likely it will be that you will need any extensive treatment. There is a spectrum of treatments for cavities at various stages. They can include:

flouride treatments

Flouride treatments

They can help restore your teeth' enamel and are often used to treat cavities in their early stages. Fluoride treatments can be a concentrated gel, foam or liquid that is applied and brushed onto your teeth.



Sometimes called ‘restorations,’ fillings are the primary treatment to cover the holes created by cavities. They can be made from many materials, including porcelain, dental amalgam, or composite resins, some of which are crafted to blend into your teeth.



To treat more severe tooth decay, where the pulp of your tooth is exposed, you may need a root canal. This treatment removes the tooth's pulp and replaces it with a filling to save your original tooth and prevent extraction.



If a tooth becomes so severely decayed that it can’t be treated, your dentist may recommend removing it. Losing a tooth leaves a gap that may allow your other teeth to shift. If you have to have a tooth removed, consider getting a dental implant or a bridge to prevent tooth loss from having an impact on your appearance and bite.

Expert Cavity Treatment in Savannah

Don’t forget — practicing good oral hygiene and visiting a dentist regularly are the best ways to prevent cavities and catch them early enough to avoid long-term complications.

If you’ve had fillings in the past, it’s also important to have them checked out occasionally to ensure that new cavities in the past don’t form around your old fillings.

Think you’re experiencing the early signs of a cavity? If you’ve noticed new spots or marks appearing on your teeth, or if your tooth is cracked, now may be the right time to contact Habersham Dental. We utilize the latest in dental technologies to help our patients have the most comfortable experience possible.

Schedule an appointment today to see how the professionals at Habersham Dental can help you to catch cavities early and get you on the path to perfecting your smile.