What We See When We Detect a Cavity

Posted on 8/10/2018 by Brandon Cooley
What We See When We Detect a CavityIf you have ever come to our dental office and been told you have a cavity, you may wonder how we know this. You do not want us to make a mistake and drill into a healthy tooth.

Learning how we diagnose cavities can give you some peace of mind. We use a combination of experience and technology to make accurate diagnoses of a cavity. They help determine where the cavity is and the severity of the problem.

The Visual Clues

The first thing we do is to look for any obvious signs of a cavity. A black spot on a tooth or a hole in the tooth are some of the visual clues of a cavity. With the help of some instruments it is also possible for us to notice weaknesses in the tooth or sensitivity in the tooth. Many of the visual clues are the signs and symptoms that the patient also notices.

If they have pain when biting into things that are hot or cold, those are signs of a problem. Swelling of the gums or redness of the gums are more signs. All the visual signs add up to give us a mental picture of what is going on inside of the tooth.

X-Rays and Technology

When it comes to spotting a cavity, x-rays are one of the most commonly used tools. The cavity will appear as a dark spot on the x-ray. The area around the cavity is not as dense as the rest of the tooth because of decay. That is what makes it appear darker on the x-ray.

The x-ray helps determine the stage of the cavity. The darker and larger the spot is on the x-ray, the bigger the cavity is. When the cavity has reached the base of the tooth, it is a sign that you will need root canal therapy.

When you come to our office, you may or may not have signs of a cavity. Using visual, tactile and x-rays, we can give you an accurate diagnosis and develop the right plan to help your oral health.

Please contact our offices with any questions you have about what we do or how we do it.
As a patient, three things stand out to me about Cooley Smiles - the great quality dental work, the cleanliness of the facility and thorough follow up. These are major differentiators that I look for in dental providers and to-date, I've always been satisfied with my experience. Thanks for the great patient care, Cooley Smiles team!

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18031 67th Avenue NE, Kenmore, WA 98028-4839
- (425) 216-3367

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