Tooth pain can be frustrating—and just downright painful—and can affect your oral and physical health, as well as your ability to eat your favorite foods. In order to do anything about your tooth pain, you have to figure out what’s causing it. Two of the most common causes of tooth pain, cavities and sensitivity, can be easy to confuse. Here’s how to tell whether you’re suffering from a cavity or sensitive teeth.

Cavities

Cavities are permanent damage to the tooth in the form of tiny holes. Without treatment, they can get larger and even lead to infection or tooth loss. Only a dentist will be able to fix a cavity, which will often require a filling.

Symptoms

  • Obvious holes or pits in tooth
  • White, black, or brown stains on tooth surface
  • Pain when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sugary foods
  • Pain when biting
  • Pain occurring spontaneously

Causes

  • Poor brushing habits/not cleaning teeth well enough
  • Consuming lots of sugary drinks and treats
  • Not getting enough fluoride
  • Frequent snacking

Tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is an issue that affects many people, and it occurs when the tooth material, dentin, loses its protective enamel and is exposed, causing the nerve endings in the tooth to be exposed. There are toothpaste, mouthwash, and other over-the-counter products that can help treat sensitivity, but severe cases may call for a trip to your dentist.

Symptoms

  • Pain when brushing teeth
  • Pain when eating hot or cold foods/drinks
  • Pain when eating sweet foods/drinks

Causes

  • Overbrushing
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth grinding
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth erosion/enamel loss

If you have issues with tooth sensitivity or cavities, seeing a dentist is the best way to find a solution. Set up an appointment today with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry!