Symptoms of an advanced cavity include pain and sensitivity to temperature changes, according to Mayo Clinic, but it's possible to develop a dental cavity that produces no noticeable symptoms and can be identified only by a dentist during a check up. This is most likely during the cavity's early stages, before the damage has worked through the tooth's enamel.
The pain of a tooth cavity can be mild or severe, and many different factors can trigger it. Cavities generally cause pain when biting down, as the pressure of the bite briefly puts stress on the damaged tooth. Exposure to hot or cold substances, particularly liquids, may also trigger a sudden, sharp pain in or around the afflicted tooth. Dental cavities often leave visual evidence, according to Mayo Clinic. Teeth with cavities may appear to be stained brown, black or white, depending on the nature and extent of the decay. Pitting, cracks and roughened areas where corrosion is taking place are also sometimes visible on the surfaces of teeth that have formed or are in the process of forming cavities. Any of these symptoms is cause for concern. A suspected cavity must be inspected by a dentist for final diagnosis and treatment.