This is a surprising fact, but a large majority of cavities do not cause pain. This is because the outer enamel contains no nerves. It is only when the cavity enters the dentin underneath that patients may begin to experience sensitivity. The most frequently experienced symptoms are increased temperature sensitivity from foods or beverages. A cavity can be responsible for tooth breakage.
A cavity can weaken the tooth to the point where it fractures when biting down. This is especially true when it forms under a filling or tooth cusp.
Patients may experience a surprise when they become aware of a few cavities that have occurred without symptoms. It is more important to treat a small cavity than wait until severe symptoms develop. Once symptoms occur, the cavity may already spread across the dental pulp, which may require a root canal procedure or extraction to resolve.
Most dental problems can strike without warning. Having regular dental examinations at least twice per year will greatly reduce the probability of having a cavity that will progress undetected and cause persistent pain.