Many people think that if they don’t have any pain, that they don’t have any cavities. Early stages of cavities are slower to progress and start in the enamel, which has no nerve endings. Some people do become more sensitive to temperature and sweets, but most people have no idea that they have a cavity until it gets closer to the nerve. Once cavities get past the enamel and enter the dentin, they progress much faster. Many people don’t feel any sensitivity until the cavity gets into the nerve and blood vessels. That’s when they develop an infection known as an abscess.
Dental exam with x-rays can catch these smaller cavities before they progress to the inner layers of the tooth and do cause pain. Early detection is key. Cavities caught while they are small only require small fillings. Often if you wait until you are in pain, the decay has progressed much closer, if not into the nerve, where pain and lots of money are involved (root canal and crown). See your dentist every six months for a cleaning and exam and get x-rays taken every year. Sure, that costs money too, but the cost is spread out over time, you get to keep more of your natural teeth and you can stay away from pain and costly procedures! …most of the time