Do I Have a Cavity? How to Tell and What It Feels Like

From your first visit to the dentist, you learn about cavities and how not having a cavity is cause for celebration. Many of us strive to care for our teeth between dentist visits just so we can hear those words, no cavities!

But what exactly is a cavity? What does it feel like? And how do you know if you have one?

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole in your tooth that was caused by the buildup of acids in plaque. The longer it is allowed to sit there, the more damage it can do - even destroying the tooth entirely. 

Plaque forms as the result of food debris and bacteria that are left on and around the teeth. Without proper oral hygiene to remove it, such as brushing and flossing, it will begin to form a sticky substance that will make itself at home on your teeth and gums. 

This damaging plaque that causes cavities can be found between your teeth, along your gum line, and on the surface of your teeth. It is important to seek treatment early for a cavity as what may start as something small can turn into serious tooth decay if left untreated.

Signs of a Cavity

Having a cavity will feel different for everyone. Some people will complain of tooth pain and find getting through the day to be tough - while others may not feel anything at all. There are a few signs that you can look to that may signal a cavity has formed. 

Toothache or Tooth Pain

When your cavity is left untreated, it can start to ache. This pain often starts small, such as when you bite down on something hard. But, without treatment, it will progress to pain as you chew soft foods, and, eventually, a constant pain. 

Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint the exact tooth that hurts, but rather you find pain in the general area of the cavity. 

Sensitivity to Temperature and Sweets

When a tooth has a cavity, it may be a bit sensitive - or a lot sensitive - when it comes to things like temperature and sweets. Eating and drinking things that are hot or cold may immediately impact a sensitive tooth. Eating sweets may do the same, but with sweets and a cavity, the pain often lingers. 

If you find that you have unusually sensitive areas in your mouth when you consume hot or cold food or beverages, or sweets, you may have a cavity. 

Dark Spot or Markings on a Tooth

Cavities that have not been addressed often become visible. There may be discoloration or just a dark spot in gray, brown, or even black. This is the sign that bacteria have begun to make their way through your enamel. 

A tooth with discoloration is a definite sign that you need to see a dentist. 

A Hole in Your Tooth

If you are looking for a surefire sign that you have a cavity, you can’t get any more solid proof than a hole in your tooth. Looking at your teeth in the mirror, you may not even realize you are looking at a hole. It could appear just as a dark spot. A closer examination or running your tongue over it may allow you to feel that it actually is a hole. 

Don’t ever delay in seeking dental treatment at any stage, but especially this one. You can end up with an infection that may cause an abscess and more damage. As a result, you may need a root canal rather than just a filling for your cavity. 

Seek Treatment for Your Cavity at Oakdale Dental Associates, P.C.

Are you experiencing any signs of a cavity? If so, then it is time to reach out to Dr. Lalchandani at Oakdale Dental Associates, P.C. before your cavity turns into something bigger. 

Having regular dental cleanings and examinations - and continuing good oral care habits at home - will reduce your chance of cavities. And, that’s cause for celebration!

If you are in or around the Holyoke, MA area, call Oakdale Dental Associates, P.C. at 413-536-1782 to set up a consultation. 

Or, you may request an appointment online.