What Are Hidden Dental Cavities And How Do You Know If You Have One?

A cavity occurs when acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth eats away at the surface of one of your teeth. Cavities can lead to serious dental problems because they can expose the root of your tooth to bacteria that can cause infection. 

While you're sometimes able to see a cavity when you look at your teeth in the mirror or feel it with your tongue, some cavities are hidden. Hidden cavities are especially bad for your dental health because they often go undetected until the tooth decay has spread to the root of your tooth.

When the root of your tooth becomes infected, you'll need to have a root canal performed on it or have it extracted in order to treat it. If a hidden cavity is caught early, however, the decay can be removed and the cavity can be filled in order to prevent further damage to your tooth. To learn more about hidden cavities and how to tell if you may have one, read on.

What Are Hidden Cavities?

A hidden cavity is a cavity in your tooth that can't easily be seen, even during a dental exam. This typically happens when a small cavity forms in one of the natural grooves in your teeth like the ones on top of your molars. The small cavity on the surface of the tooth is hidden in the groove, making it hard to spot.

Even though the cavity on the surface of the tooth is small, a hidden cavity can still lead to severe tooth decay. The opening allows bacteria to attack the dentin layer underneath the tooth enamel, which is very soft and easily destroyed by the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth.

How Do You Know if You Have a Hidden Cavity?

One sign that you may have a hidden cavity is sudden tooth sensitivity. Liquids like ice-cold water can enter through the small cavity in the surface of your tooth and make its way to the decaying area in the dentin layer, which is close to the nerve of the tooth.

If you have a hidden cavity, you may also notice that the tooth it's in has a cloudy appearance. This can be a sign that the dentin layer underneath the enamel surface of your tooth is decaying.

How Do Dentists Treat Hidden Cavities?

If you think that you may have a hidden cavity, schedule an appointment with a dentist for an examination. A dentist can shine a powerful light on your tooth during a dental exam to check for signs of decay in the inner dentin layer of the tooth. They can also take X-rays of your teeth and look for cavities in places that are difficult for them to see.

Once the hidden cavity has been found, your dentist will remove all of the decay and use a composite filling to prevent any more bacteria from entering your tooth. Treating a hidden cavity early will reduce the chance that the nerve of your tooth will become infected, so it's important to see your dentist for an exam as soon as possible if you think that you may have a hidden cavity in your tooth.

Contact a local dental office, such as Galesville Dental, to learn more.