How to Tell if You Have a Cavity

Think you might be starting to get a cavity? While not all areas of tooth decay instantly cause a “zing” or pain in your mouth, there are several symptoms you can be on the lookout for. If you’re experiencing any of the following red flags, be sure to let our Phoenix dentist know.

Sweet Sensitivity

A “red flag” for cavities, sensitivity to sweets almost always means there’s an area of decay somewhere. Sweets don’t have to be candy; they can also include your flavored coffee, diet soda, juice, or sugar-free dessert.

A Rough Spot You Can Feel with Your Tongue

When you run your tongue over the surface of our tooth, what do you feel? When certain surfaces don’t seem like the rest, it’s usually because something with the tooth anatomy has changed.


Food Catching in Your Tooth

An opening in your tooth allows food and other debris (such as plaque) to accumulate and pack inside of the enamel. If you find that large amounts of food are getting caught in a specific area during each mean, you need to have a Phoenix dentist check to see why. If it’s not a cavity it could be gum disease or recession.

Floss Gets Caught Between Teeth

Cleaning between your teeth is an important key to reducing your risk of tooth decay. But daily flossing may give you the first insight when something is wrong… if the strand of floss seems to catch on something between your teeth. Pay particular attention to shredding in the floss or if it becomes snagged in place. Don’t force it out, but instead lower the floss and pull it out the side (instead of pulling it upward.) Cavities may be the cause, but it could also be tartar buildup or a leaky dental filling.

Visible Discoloration

Although a stereotypical symptom, dark spots on teeth can be indicative of a cavity. Dark staining in a specific area — like in the grooves or chewing surface and around existing fillings — may mean that bacteria has seeped into the enamel and is decaying the tooth below what’s visible from the outside. It’s best to get an X-ray to determine how far the damage extends.

Pressure Sensitivity

Does it hurt to bite down? Your tooth may have a cavity that’s large enough to compromise its integrity. Chewing and eating can cause additional fractures in the enamel, putting the tooth at a risk for cracking apart. Diagnosing the cavity earlier means a small filling can keep your tooth in one piece!

Pain in a Specific Tooth

When one of your teeth feels different than the rest, there’s usually a reason why. Although it might just be tenderness from something like a sinus infection or gum recession, it’s best to have a dentist check it out to make sure there’s not something more serious like an abscess.

Call Our local Phoenix office for a Free Exam & Consultation

At Central Valley Dentistry, we’re happy to answer any questions you have and provide a cavity screening in our Phoenix dentist office. New patients are always welcome! Contact us today to book an appointment.

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