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How do you know when a cavity is really bad?

I have a cavity on my molar tooth. It seems small and not so bad, but I am not sure. How do you know when a cavity is really bad?

8 Answers

Just see your dentist for x-rays and exam and the dentist can let you know if it is a big or small cavity
I had a professional put it off for 1.5 years and it’s root canal and crown now many have to be pulled if you wait good idea to check with a dental professional
X-rays are critical in dental diagnosis.
The key is to catch these problems when they are small. The best advice I can give you is to schedule an exam with your dental provider to be evaluated. The best way to determine if you have a cavity is to take a series of X-rays. Sometimes a problem may appear small on the outside, but it could be expanding on the inside. Like I said, the key is to get regular dental examinations so you can find problems when they are still small. The longer you wait, the bigger they get.
Generally, as a cavity gets "bad" or close to the nerve you will start to experience increased sensitivity, such as acute pain to cold or sweets. However, I have plenty of patients who have experienced no sensitivity and the decay is very large. The only true way to know is with a dental exam and recent radiographs.
The succinct answer to your question is to visit your dentist and have the tooth examined by a professional. If you can see the cavity then it's certainly time to get it looked at and if need be have it x-rayed. X-rays can see beneath the surface of the tooth to find the amount of damage there. Now, if you just have an "aversion" to a dentist right now then here are the symptoms of a "really bad" cavity: When a cavity gets deep enough, it develops certain symptoms, primarily unprovoked pain. In other words, you can be sleeping or at your desk at work and it will suddenly start hurting. That means that the cavity is probably down to the nerve and you've waited too long. And don't forget swelling and redness around the tooth and probably a nasty taste and smell. Yep, that cavity is really bad. Get it looked at ASAP.
Sweet sensitivity could be an initial signal, moving on to Cold sensitivity
You know when a cavity is really bad, when the tooth starts hurting...A LOT. By this time, you will no longer need a filling, but likely a root canal and crown, much more expensive procedures. Please take care of this when it is small and much less expensive, time consuming, and painful to take care of!