How to Tell if You Have a Cavity

Cavities are no fun. They ache, they throb, and they cause shooting pain in the tooth and jaw that is sometimes unbearable. They’re not always preventable. That being said, there are some other things that may be causing your tooth discomfort. Knowing what you should look for when it comes to cavities is a great way to tell if you have a cavity and to determine when the right time to visit the dentist is. Here are four ways to tell if you have a cavity.  


This is the first thing to look for. If you have a tooth that hurts when you eat something sweet you may have a cavity. This pain can be long lasting or can be a shooting pain that comes and goes. For some, the pain of a cavity is intense and lasts all day for weeks or until the cavity is resolved. For others, the pain is only temporary and does not really feel all that intense. When it comes to gauging if you have a cavity based on pain alone, you may not be able to tell, often the pain is paired with other issues that you should take note of.  


You also want to look for dark spots on the teeth that are not easily brushed away. Food particles may look like a cavity but they are often easily brushed away to reveal clean teeth. Cavities cannot be brushed away and often cause pits in the teeth that then turn dark brown or black. These dark spots can be very easy to see or can be very light and difficult to see. These spots are often accompanied by the pain or discomfort that you might feel when you think you have a cavity to begin with. These dark spots are also not lifted with stain removers.  


Another indicator that you may want to watch for is bad breath. This is breath that is very smelly and that is not remedied with brushing or with rinsing with mouthwash. The reason for this is that a cavity is essentially decay in the tooth that is caused by the secretions of bacteria. These bacteria eat the leftover food that is in your teeth and then decay the tooth which causes the bad smell. Most times when you have bad breath that is not easily taken care of with mouthwash or brushing, you have decay of some sort in your mouth. If smell, pain, and a dark spot are all present, you may very well have a cavity.  


The only sure fire way to tell if you have a cavity is to go to the dentist. You may have all the signs that we have discussed and not have a cavity. Pain can be caused by exposed nerves and dentin, dark spots can be intense staining, and bad breath may be caused by an infection or by something like gingivitis. The only way you can truly know if you have a cavity is to take the time to talk with a professional to see what their opinion is. The way that dentists find out if you have a cavity or not is to visually inspect, to press a tool into the suspected cavity to test to see if the tooth is giving way, and in some cases, to use an x-ray to identify the cavity.   If you suspect that you have a cavity, you should take the time to make an appointment to make sure that you are going to be able to get the treatment that you need. Dobson Ranch Dental Care can help you take care of all your cavities quickly and easily, make an appointment today.


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