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Tooth decay symptoms

Symptoms of cavities vary by stage of development.

Stage 1 – Cavity is limited to the enamel: no pain

There are usually no symptoms or pain.

Stage 2 – Cavity reaches the dentine: teeth are sensitive to hot and cold

A sudden pain occurs upon contact with hot or cold food. The pain usually does not last long. Also, some people may not feel pain at all.

Stage 3 – The cavity reaches the pulp: raging toothache

A sudden, sharp and sustained pain is generally experienced.

Stage 4 – The dental pulp is infected: tooth abscess (severe pain accompanied by throbbing)

In addition to severe pain, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Redness of the gum
  • Swelling of the gum or cheek
  • Pain when chewing
  • Headaches
  • Fever

Consulting a dentist

If you have some symptoms of a cavity, consult a dentist.

You can find a dentist by visiting the Ordre des dentistes du Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) website.

Last update: November 8, 2016


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