What is Hidden Tooth Decay?

Everything you need to know about this 'silent' and very damaging condition
Hidden Decay

Today we are going to discover a major reason why you need to visit the dentist regularly — hidden decay.

Hidden (or occult) decay is an invisible and ‘silent’ form of decay in human teeth. It affects all ages. The decaying teeth may look perfectly healthy and usually feel normal. You may notice a subtle change in the colour of your teeth or there may be a small brown spot. However, in most cases of hidden decay there are no other warning signs and patients don’t know that they have this damaging condition. Patients with hidden decay risk losing teeth and need to see the dentist as soon as possible. Dietary and oral hygiene advice is also required and can be obtained from the dentist and dental hygienist.

Hidden Tooth Decay Examination

There are a few ways to detect hidden decay:

  1. Regular visits to the dentist – recommended visit every 6, 9 or 12 months based on your personal risk.
  2. X-ray examination with Bite-Wing radiographs – we may prescribe this at the time of inspection; it’s a quick, safe and reliable method of catching out hidden decay
  3. High Definition magnified images of your teeth – revealing various white, grey, yellow, pink, brown or black spots on your teeth; cracks and leaky fillings may also become visible.

If left undetected and untreated, hidden decay can cause irreversible nerve damage in teeth and lead to their loss. Other times, your tooth may need root canal treatment. Unfortunately, many patients lose teeth due to decay and its complications. Therefore, it is important to detect hidden decay on time and treat it as a matter of urgency.

Treatment Of Hidden Tooth Decay

Step 1: The tooth needs to be numb for a comfortable experience – our team is well-trained to deliver anaesthetic with minimal to no sensation.

Hidden Decay - initial Situation
Hidden Decay – Initial Situation

Step 2: Expose the hidden tooth decay — the dentist creates a window to be able to see and clean the soft zones

Hidden Decay - Exposed
Hidden Decay – Exposed

Step 3: Cleaning of the decay — the dentist cleans your tooth decay to prepare the area for a filling

Hidden Decay - Filling Stage
Hidden Decay – Filling Stage

Step 4: Place a filling — the dentist will ‘bake’ the filling in the tooth, layer by layer. After that, the dentist will polish the filling to make it smooth and easy to clean at home.

Hidden Decay - End Result
Hidden Decay – End Result


  • Hidden decay is a common problem in human teeth
  • X-rays and High Definition magnified photos of your teeth help expose hidden decay
  • Regular visits at the dentist help keep your teeth decay-free
  • The earlier hidden decay is detected, the less chance of losing teeth

Please contact our friendly reception on 01323 723757 to check your teeth for hidden decay.

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