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1. a hollow or space, or a potential space, within the body or one of its organs; called also caverna and cavum.
2. the lesion produced by dental caries.
Cavities in the body. From Applegate, 2000.
abdominal cavity the cavity of the body between the diaphragm above and the pelvis below, containing the abdominal organs.
absorption c's cavities in developing compact bone due to osteoclastic erosion, usually occurring in the areas laid down first.
amniotic cavity the closed sac between the embryo and the amnion, containing the amniotic fluid.
cranial cavity the space enclosed by the bones of the cranium.
glenoid cavity a depression in the lateral angle of the scapula for articulation with the humerus.
marrow cavity (medullary cavity) the cavity that contains bone marrow in the diaphysis of a long bone; called also medullary canal.
nasal cavity the proximal portion of the passages of the respiratory system, extending from the nares to the pharynx; it is divided into left and right halves by the nasal septum and is separated from the oral cavity by the hard palate.
oral cavity the cavity of the mouth, bounded by the jaw bones and associated structures (muscles and mucosa).
pelvic cavity the space within the walls of the pelvis.
pericardial cavity the potential space between the epicardium and the parietal layer of the serous pericardium.
peritoneal cavity the potential space between the parietal and the visceral peritoneum.
pleural cavity the potential space between the two layers of pleura.
pulp cavity the pulp-filled central chamber in the crown of a tooth.
cavity of septum pellucidum the median cleft between the two laminae of the septum pellucidum. Called also pseudocele, pseudocoele, and fifth ventricle.
serous cavity a coelomic cavity, like that enclosed by the pericardium, peritoneum, or pleura, not communicating with the outside of the body and lined with a serous membrane, i.e., one which secretes a serous fluid.
tension cavity cavities of the lung in which the air pressure is greater than that of the atmosphere.
thoracic cavity the portion of the ventral body cavity situated between the neck and the diaphragm; it contains the pleural cavity.
tympanic cavity the major portion of the middle ear, consisting of a narrow air-filled cavity in the temporal bone that contains the auditory ossicles and communicates with the mastoid air cells and the mastoid antrum by means of the aditus and the nasopharynx by means of the auditory tube. The middle ear and the tympanic cavity were formerly regarded as being synonymous.
uterine cavity the flattened space within the uterus communicating proximally on either side with the fallopian tubes and below with the vagina.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. A hollow space; hole.
2. Lay term for the loss of tooth structure from dental caries.
Synonym(s): cavitas
[L. cavus, hollow]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n. pl. cavi·ties
1. A hollow area within the body: a sinus cavity.
2. A pitted area in a tooth caused by caries.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Tooth decay. The destruction of tooth enamel and dentin, which is linked to infection by Streptococcus mutans and microaerophilic organisms that thrive when protected by a layer of hardened dental plaque; caries is most common in the young with refined carbohydrate-rich diets, especially in “snackers” who have increased oral pH; caries may affect older patients with diabetes, cancer or immunodeficient states.

Medical history
Obsolete for tuberculosis of bone and joints.
Osteolytic, softened and discoloured bone secondary to chronic periostitis and periperiosteitis, with formation of cold abscesses filled with a cheesy, fetid, pus-like substance, which extends through soft tissue to the surface via a sinus.
Vox populi
Cavities, cavity.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Ballistics The permanent space created along a bullet's trajectory caused by the bullet per se. See Ballistics Dentistry Caries A hole in a tooth that may be confined to the enamel, or penetrate into the dentin and pulp Clinical If deep, pain and ↑ sensitivity to changes in temperature Tuberculosis A hollow space in the lung, visible on a CXR, which may contain a gazillion tuberculous bacilli, especially in persons with severe pulmonary TB.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. A hollow space; hole.
See: cave, cavitas, cavernous space
2. Lay term for the loss of tooth structure due to dental caries.
Synonym(s): cavitas.
[L. cavus, hollow]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(kav'it-e) [L. cavitas, hollow]
A hollow space, such as a body organ or the hole in a tooth produced by caries.

abdominal cavity

The ventral cavity between the diaphragm and pelvis, containing the abdominal organs. It is lined with a serous membrane, the peritoneum, and contains the following organs: stomach with the lower portion of the esophagus, small and large intestines (except sigmoid colon and rectum), liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, kidneys, and ureters. It is continuous with the pelvic cavity; the two constitute the abdominopelvic cavity. See: abdomen; abdominal quadrants for illus.

alveolar cavity

A tooth socket.

articular cavity

The synovial cavity of a joint.
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body cavity

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1. Any hollow space within the body. See: illustration
2. A hidden body space that is accessible from the outside, e.g., rectum or vagina. Referred to in “body cavity search for contraband”.
3. Derivatives of the coelom, i.e., the pericardial, peritoneal, and plural sacs. See: coelom

buccal cavity

Oral cavity.

cotyloid cavity


cranial cavity

The cavity of the skull, which contains the brain.

dental cavity


dorsal cavity

The body cavity composed of the cranial and spinal cavities. See: body cavity for illus.

glenoid cavity

Glenoid fossa (2).

joint cavity

The articular cavity or space enclosed by the synovial membrane and articular cartilages. It contains synovial fluid. Synonym: joint space

laryngeal cavity

The hollow inside the larynx from its inlet at the laryngopharynx to the beginning of the trachea. It has three segments (from top to bottom): vestibule of the larynx, ventricle of the larynx, infraglottic cavity.

lesser peritoneal cavity

Omental bursa.

medullary cavity

The marrow-filled space in a bone.

nasal cavity

One of two cavities between the floor of the cranium and the roof of the mouth, opening to the nose anteriorly and the nasopharynx posteriorly. Its lining of ciliated epithelium warms and moistens inhaled air, and traps dust and pathogens on mucus that are then swept toward the pharynx. The nasal septum (ethmoid and vomer) separates the nasal cavities, and the olfactory receptors are in the upper part of each cavity. The paranasal sinuses (frontal, maxillary, sphenoidal, and ethmoidal) open into the meatus below the conchae. The orifices of the frontal, anterior ethmoidal, and maxillary sinuses are in the middle meatus. The orifices of the posterior ethmoidal and sphenoidal sinuses are in the superior meatus. The nasal mucosa is highly vascular; blood is supplied by the maxillary arteries from the external carotid arteries and by the ethmoidal arteries from the internal carotid arteries.

oral cavity

The space inside the teeth and gums that is filled by the tongue when the mouth is closed and relaxed.
Synonym: buccal cavity

pelvic cavity

The bony hollow formed by the innominate bones, the sacrum, and the coccyx. The major pelvic cavity lies between the iliac fossae and above the iliopectineal lines. The minor pelvic cavity lies below the iliopectineal lines. See: pelvis

pericardial cavity

The potential space between the epicardium (visceral pericardium) and the parietal pericardium.
See: pericardia friction rub; pericarditis

peritoneal cavity

The potential space between the parietal peritoneum, which lines the abdominal wall, and the visceral peritoneum, which forms the surface layer of the visceral organs. It contains serous fluid.

pleural cavity

The potential space between the parietal pleura that lines the thoracic cavity and the visceral pleura that covers the lungs. It contains serous fluid that prevents friction.

pleuroperitoneal cavity

The ventral body cavity.
See: body cavity for illus.; coelom

pulp cavity

The cavity in a tooth containing blood vessels and nerve endings.

resonating cavities

The anatomic intensifiers of the human voice, including the upper portion of the larynx, pharynx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, and oral cavity.

Rosenmüller cavity

See: Rosenmüller, Johann Christian

serous cavity

The space between two layers of serous membrane (e.g., the pleural, pericardial, and peritoneal cavities).

spinal cavity

The cavity that contains the spinal cord. See: body cavity for illus.

splanchnic cavity

Any of the cavities of the body, such as the cranial, thoracic, and abdominal cavities, that contain important organs.
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thoracic cavity

The part of the ventral cavity above the diaphragm, the domed muscle that separates it from the abdominal cavity; it is enclosed by the chest wall. The thoracic viscera include the pleural membranes that surround the lungs, the mediastinum between the lungs, which contains the heart and pericardial membranes, the thoracic aorta, pulmonary artery and veins, vena cavae, thymus gland, lymph nodes, trachea, bronchi, esophagus, and thoracic duct. See: illustration

tympanic cavity

Middle ear.

uterine cavity

The hollow space inside the body of the uterus.

ventral cavity

The body cavity composed of the thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic cavities. See: body cavity for illus.

visceral cavity

The body cavity containing the viscera (i.e., the thorax, abdomen, and pelvis).
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


A hole or weak spot in the tooth surface caused by decay.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. A hollow space; hole.
2. Lay term for the loss of tooth structure resulting from dental caries.
Synonym(s): cavitas.
[L. cavus, hollow]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about cavity

Q. What are the effects of alcoholism on the oral cavity? I have to make a presentation on this topic, and I would like to know what are the main pathological effects of chronic alcoholism on the oral cavity, I know that it is a carcinogen, but it mainly acts as a promoter, is there any cancer that is caused by alcohol abuse?

A. alcohol can interact harmfully with several medications commonly used in dental treatment. Alcohol intensifies the depressant effect of barbituates and tranquilizers creating a higher risk of deep sedation and unconsciousness. Following treatment, the ability to drive may be impaired. Medications used to control high blood pressure and angina have a dilating effect on the blood vessels which is intensified by alcohol.

The result is a higher likelihood of low blood pressure and fainting. Even the action of aspirin is intensified by alcohol, causing excessive bleeding by disrupting clot formation

Q. what happens if a dentist fills a cavity with some caries left on the tooth? the cavity was deep ,close to the nerve. Didn’t make nerve exposure.?

A. If it wasn’t removed properly – you will have what they call – “recurrent cries”. It’ll continue growing without you seeing it until you’ll come back to the dentist again because of the pain. I suggest you’ll save the pain part and go now.

Q. what happens if a dentist fills a cavity with some caries left on the tooth? the cavity was deep ,close to the nerve. Didn’t make nerve exposure.?

A. If that is so, then you will need to have him remove all the decay, the refill. If it is too close to the nerves then they may have to do a root canal. That means take out the filling, the tooth pulp and fill it up.

More discussions about cavity
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