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Dental Cavities

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What are dental cavities?

Dental cavities, also called caries, are holes in teeth caused by bacteria. The bacteria mix with carbohydrates from foods and create acids. The acids break down areas of enamel, which covers the outside of a tooth.

Tooth Decay

What increases my risk for dental cavities?

What are symptoms of dental cavities?

You may not have any symptoms if cavities have just started to form. When cavities reach deeper parts of your tooth, you may start to feel pain. You may also have any of the following:

How are dental cavities diagnosed?

Your dentist will look at your teeth to check for signs of enamel breakdown and cavities. He or she may also use x-rays to find cavities.

How are dental cavities treated?

How can I help prevent dental cavities?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my dentist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.