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Cavity Between Teeth Symptoms

a decayed tooth with germs around it

Dental cavities are a common problem affecting people of all ages.

While most people are familiar with the telltale signs of a cavity on a visible tooth surface, cavities between teeth can be trickier to detect. These "hidden cavities," as they're sometimes called, can progress unnoticed until they cause significant damage.

This article by Schroeder & Schroeder will explain the signs of a cavity between teeth, helping you identify potential problems and seek treatment before they escalate.

What is a Cavity?

A cavity, also known as dental caries, is a hole that forms on the hard surface of your tooth. The breakdown of tooth enamel, the outermost protective layer, causes it. This breakdown is often caused by plaque buildup, a sticky film that harbors bacteria.

When we consume sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria in plaque feed on these sugars, producing acids as a byproduct. These acids erode tooth enamel, creating a cavity over time.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cavity Between Teeth

Unfortunately, cavities between teeth often develop without any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. This is because they're located in areas that are difficult to see and reach with a toothbrush. However, as the cavity progresses, you might experience some of the following:


  • Sharp Pain When Biting Down: If you experience sharp pain when biting down on food, particularly hard or chewy foods, it could indicate a cavity between your teeth. The pressure from chewing can irritate the damaged area.
  • Toothache: A general toothache, especially a dull or throbbing pain, might also be a sign of a cavity between teeth. While pain can be a symptom of other dental issues as well, it's always best to consult your dentist to determine the cause.

Sensitivity to Hot and Cold

  • Sensitivity: Cavities can expose the inner layers of your teeth, which are more sensitive to temperature changes. If you experience a sharp, fleeting pain when consuming hot or cold beverages or food, it could be a sign of a cavity between your teeth.

Visual Signs

While it can be challenging to see cavities between teeth directly, there might be some visual clues:

  • Discoloration Between Teeth: A change in the color of the enamel between your teeth, such as brown, black, or white spots, can be a sign of a cavity.
  • Visible Pits or Holes: In more advanced stages, you might actually see a visible pit or hole forming between your teeth. If you notice this, schedule a dental appointment right away.

Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath (halitosis) can sometimes be caused by cavities between teeth, as food particles can become trapped and decompose in the hidden spaces.

Swollen Gums

Inflamed or swollen gums near the area where you suspect a cavity might be a sign of infection.

Risk Factors for Cavities Between Teeth

Several factors can increase your risk of developing cavities between teeth:

Poor Dental Hygiene

Not brushing and flossing properly allows plaque to build up between teeth, creating the perfect environment for cavities to form.

Frequent Snacking

Constantly snacking throughout the day, especially on sugary foods, gives plaque bacteria more fuel to produce cavity-causing acids.

Dry Mouth

Saliva plays a crucial role in washing away food particles and bacteria. If you experience chronic dry mouth, you might be more susceptible to cavities.

Certain Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can affect your oral health and increase your risk of cavities.


Your genes can also play a role in how susceptible you are to tooth decay.

Importance of Early Detection and Treatment

Early detection and treatment of cavities between teeth are crucial for several reasons:

  • Preventing Further Damage: The longer a cavity goes untreated, the larger it will become. This can eventually lead to damage to the inner layers of your tooth, requiring more extensive and expensive treatment.
  • Avoiding Pain and Discomfort: As the cavity progresses, it can cause significant pain and discomfort, impacting your daily life.
  • Reducing Treatment Costs: Catching a cavity early is much easier and less expensive to treat than a large, advanced cavity.

Diagnosis of Cavities Between Teeth

Dental Exam

During a routine dental exam, your dentist will visually inspect your teeth, looking for any signs of discoloration, cracks, or other abnormalities between them.

They may also use a dental probe, a small, blunt instrument, to gently feel for any soft spots or areas that catch.


X-rays are a valuable tool for diagnosing cavities between teeth. Dental X-rays can reveal cavities that are not visible during a visual examination.

There are different types of X-rays used in dentistry, and your dentist will choose the most appropriate one for your situation.

Treatment Options for Cavities Between Teeth

The treatment for a cavity between teeth will depend on the severity of the cavity. Here are some common treatment options:


Fillings are the most common treatment for small to moderate cavities. They restore the damaged tooth structure and prevent further decay. Different types of filling materials are available, and your dentist at Schroeder & Schroeder will discuss the best option for your specific case.


For larger cavities or if the tooth structure is significantly weakened, a crown may be necessary. A crown is a cap that is placed over the entire tooth, restoring its strength, shape, and size.

Root Canal

In the most severe cases, where the cavity has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be required. A root canal involves removing the infected pulp and cleaning the inside of the tooth before sealing it with a filling or crown.

Prevention of Cavities Between Teeth

close-up shot of a badly rotten tooth due to cavities

The good news is that cavities between teeth are largely preventable with a good oral hygiene routine and regular dental care. Here are some key steps you can take:

  • Brushing Twice a Day: Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to brush for at least two minutes each time, paying particular attention to the areas between your teeth.
  • Flossing Daily: Flossing daily is essential for removing plaque and food particles from between your teeth, where brushing alone can't reach.
  • Using Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride and use it for both brushing sessions.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Diet: Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, as these can contribute to the formation of cavities. Opt for healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Regular Dental Checkups: Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings with your dentist. This allows your dentist to detect and address any potential problems early on, including cavities between teeth.

Schroeder & Schroeder Dentistry: Your Partner in Optimal Oral Health

At Schroeder & Schroeder Dentistry, conveniently located on the east side of Indianapolis, we understand the importance of preventive care. Our team of experienced and compassionate dentists is committed to offering comprehensive dental services to patients of all ages.

We utilize advanced technology and techniques to ensure accurate diagnoses and comfortable, effective treatment. Our goal is to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.

If you're worried about signs of a cavity between teeth or simply need a dental checkup, contact Schroeder & Schroeder Dentistry today. We welcome new patients and look forward to helping you smile with confidence!


a tooth decay between two healthy teeth

Cavities between teeth, while sometimes hidden from view, can pose a significant threat to your oral health. By understanding the signs and symptoms, risk factors, and importance of early detection, you can take steps to prevent cavities from developing in the first place.

If you suspect you might have a cavity between your teeth, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with Schroeder & Schroeder for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Emergency Care

When emergencies arise, please call us immediately so we can fit you into our schedule as soon as possible. We will work quickly to help get you out of pain and prevent any harm to your smile until you can return for any further care you need.

What Our Patients Have to Say

Experience the Transformative Difference with Schroeder & Schroeder Dentistry

In June, I started calling different places to become a patient with a new dentist since I moved to a different side of town! I was welcomed with open arms through the phone with Mrs. Jane and we actually had a friend in common... what a small world.

She sent me the paperwork I needed to fill out prior to coming to my first appointment. I initially came in for a general cleaning since it's been a year, but I knew deep down inside I really needed to get my two sets of bridges in place as well. I've honestly been dreading this procedure for the last 5 years due to the unknown, but Dr. Miles showed me a video and of course I had a lot questions.

I had learned that I could get both done at the same time, and it would be cheaper too. So with several visits to the dental office, I finally received my permanent bridges on Thursday, August 8th. I am happy camper for sure and after the anesthesia subsided and of course after taking a nap... all I could think about was eating I nice big ole steak from Texas Roadhouse! I couldn't believe I could chew on both sides of my mouth because for the past few years I would only chew on the right side!

If I could give your practice 10 stars I would because the staff were relatable, funny and truly cared about me...I wasn't just another patient or another number! I can truly say my smile is brighter than ever because I am no longer self-conscious about my back missing teeth.

Ooh and one more thing, I even received a thank you card in the mail after my first visit and it truly made my day. 😁 I would recommend Schroeder & Schroeder Dentistry to anyone!!

  • As new patients of Schroeder & Schroeder, we've been extremely impressed with the services we've received. The office staff are so welcoming and happy to assist with any needs/questions. Both Dentists are informative and willing to answer any questions, as well as show extreme patience. My daughter and I have been happy with our experiences.

    Ashley S.

  • I have always been afraid of going to the dentist. I knew I needed a lot of work done and had no idea where to start. Then I remembered this dentist office that did my dad's braces when he was young, so I called. After the first visit, I have been able to handle every other one with a breeze!! The staff and dentist are AMAZING and make the whole process amazing!! From scheduling, to billing, to fillings, to extractions, to cleanings, to checking in, they are AMAZING!

    Nicole S.

  • I repeatedly recommend Schroeder and Schroeder Dentistry. I always like returning, even if I have a cavity.

    Judith A.

  • I’ve been going to Dr. Schroeder for over 15 years and my oral health has never been better! Dr. Schroeder and his staff are absolutely fantastic professionals. The dental assistants are just as amazing and are eager to answer any questions or concerns. I don’t ever plan on going anywhere else and I highly recommend them!

    Sandra J.

  • Good vibes only! The reviews got me in the door and the staff inside will keep me coming back. I went for my first visit to a dentist in 6 years and from the moment I walked in it was such a friendly environment. Everyone was so welcoming and made me feel at ease despite not having gone to a dentist in so long. It was a surprisingly wonderful experience. Very happy with my choice!

    Kam E.

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