You’re out at dinner when you bite down on a chewy piece of bread—the sharp pain in your tooth suddenly stops you. In your mind, you’re torn between two possibilities…
Was the bread too tough? Or do your teeth have cavities?
Teeth are strong and, with good care, can last a lifetime. Yet if your mouth is protesting in pain, it’s important you know what symptoms spell dental decay.
Here are 5 important warning signs you have a cavity or are developing one:
One sign you’re suffering from a cavity is sensitivity to hot or cold. According to the ADA, your teeth contain a substance called dentin that’s covered by your enamel and another substance, cementum.
As the ADA explains, your dentin has a number of tiny tubes…but when the outer layers of your teeth erode, those tubes expose your dental nerves to hot or cold.
The result is that food and drinks above or below room temperature will now produce pain in your teeth.
The point is simple. If tea time has you cringing because your teeth are suddenly sensitive, it’s time to visit your dentist.
If cavities have exposed the nerves in your teeth, you may find you’re sensitive to more than just hot and cold. As Colgate explains, sensitivity to sugar can also be a sign that your dentin is suffering from cavities.
If you do have a cavity, the sweet drinks you’re consuming can create even more damage. According to Healthline, soft drinks can actually begin to damage the dentin itself.
That risk is only magnified if you have metal or ceramic braces that make it difficult to clean your teeth.
If sugary drinks are causing discomfort, stop drinking them and see your dentist right away.
If you’ve noticed dark stains appearing on your teeth, it’s time to pay closer attention. Staining can be caused by any number of factors, including the consumption of caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea.
However, the stains can also indicate you have a cavity. According to WebMD, you may have a cavity if your teeth have grey, brown or black spots, so don’t be so quick to dismiss these as mere coffee stains.
If you’ve experienced tooth pain that suddenly surfaces during a plane flight, you may have more than sensitive teeth. This can actually be another sign of cavities.
As this article explains, a cavity can allow air pockets to form in the hollow portion of a tooth. When the air pressure changes during takeoff and landing, that small pocket of air also changes pressure, leading to pain.
Pain during flight or other situations involving air pressure variations is a clear indication that you need to visit the dentist once you’re back home.
Not surprisingly, one of the most obvious signs you have a cavity is experiencing pain when you’re eating a meal.
As your tooth’s outer layer begins to erode, it’s easier for a bit of food or liquid to touch a part of your tooth never meant for exposure, triggering pain. Be sure you schedule a professional dental examination as this is the only way to make certain a cavity is to blame.
Getting cavities is easy enough if you neglect routine oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. Yet developing tooth decay becomes even easier if you’re straightening your teeth with metal or ceramic braces.
The brackets and wires that straighten your smile will also make it difficult to properly clean your teeth and gums, which can lead to cavities.
Instead of running the risk of tooth decay, you can opt for a better choice to achieve that beautiful smile you’ve dreamed of—Invisalign clear aligners. Not only are Invisalign aligners nearly impossible to see, but they are also removable for cleaning your teeth and eating meals.
To straighten your teeth without risking a mouth full of fillings, schedule your free, no-obligation Smile Evaluation at a MiSmile provider near you today!