The most obvious sign of tooth decay is toothache, particularly after hot or cold foods or drinks. However, painmay not be present until decay has reached an advanced stage.

Pits or holes may also be visible in the teeth.
Most tooth decay is discovered at an early stage during a routine check up.

A serious complication can be the development of a tooth abscess – the build up of pus resulting from a bacterial infection of the centre of the tooth.

Infection may spread out from the root of the tooth and to the bones supporting the tooth.
Plaque and tartar also irritate the gums, and lead to a gum disease called gingivitis.