Tooth Decay: what does a cavity look like?

Your dentist just said, “You have a small cavity on your tooth.”

Most patients, after swearing a bit, wonder what that looks like. Below is a short primer on what a cavity or tooth decay looks like when its small.

what does tooth decay look like?

The red arrows point to two different types of tooth decay.

The arrows above are pointing toward different types of decay on this tooth. The color of the tooth around the silver filling is different from side to side. Normal tooth color is below the filling. Above the filing decay is eating away at the tooth.

The lower arrow points to a color change coming from UNDER the enamel. The distinction is: its not stain just sitting on top of the tooth.

tooth decay

The arrows point to decay inside the preparation.

The arrows are pointing to the areas where tooth decay is eating away the tooth structure. Most of the decay has been removed from the 12 0’clock area in the upper preparation.
Decay has been removed from both preparations.

Decay has been removed from both preparations.

Both fillings are larger than photo #2 to allow removal of the decayed area of tooth. Notice the color change. This is the color of healthy dentin.

The filling has been placed.

The final restoration is in place. Notice the color change in the tooth from simply removing the dark infected dentin and ugly silver filling. This restoration, because its relatively small when compared to the tooth, will last a long time.
Doug Larson, DDS
42 West Campbell Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008
408.374.6160

Abo

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