Tooth Sensitivity vs. Cavities

Do you have tooth sensitivity or a cavity? In some instances, it may be hard to tell, and the treatment for tooth sensitivity is vastly different than if you have a cavity. If you have tooth sensitivity, you may only need a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, but if you have a cavity, you will need treatment from a professional dentist in Largo, FL.

Understanding Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can occur when the enamel of your teeth starts to thin. When this occurs, you may feel pain when you drink hot or cold liquids. Thankfully, this pain is often temporary and can be alleviated with toothpastes for sensitive teeth. A dentist can also prescribe fluoride gels and other treatments that will help rebuild the strength of your enamel.

However, the thinning of your enamel is a sign something isn’t right. The enamel on your teeth helps protect them against damage from daily wear and tear and tooth decay. If your enamel is thinning, your teeth are more prone to developing cavities.

Signs of Tooth Sensitivity

If you are experiencing these signs and symptoms, you may only have tooth sensitivity instead of cavities. However, if you’ve noticed a roughness to your teeth or you have tooth pain all the time, your condition may be more serious.

  • You do not see any black spots on your teeth.
  • You only have pain when you eat or drink something excessively hot or cold.
  • Your teeth are correctly shaped.
  • Your teeth are smooth along the edges.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

If you brush too hard, especially along the gumline, you may be brushing away the enamel on your teeth as well as food particles and plaque. To prevent this from happening, you should choose a soft-bristled toothbrush, and use a light touch when brushing your teeth. When you brush along your gumline, always make sure to angle the brush at a 45-degree angle.

If you have acid reflux that is untreated acid from your stomach can enter your mouth and coat your teeth, where it can eat away at the enamel. To stop enamel erosion from acid reflux or GERD, you should speak with your family doctor about medications or other ways in which to control your acid reflux.

Stomach acid can also coat your teeth if you have bulimia and frequently force yourself to vomit. Likewise, if you are prone to binge drinking until you puke, your stomach acid will start to eat away at your teeth, resulting in a thinning of your tooth enamel. If you have either of these conditions, you will need to seek treatment from the appropriate medical professional.

Understanding Cavities

Cavities occur when there is a hole in your enamel that allows bacteria to enter your tooth. The bacteria then compromises the structure of the teeth, which can lead to tooth pain. Cavities must be professionally cleaned and filled by a dentist in order to restore the structural integrity of the tooth and prevent further tooth decay.

Signs of a Cavity

Cavities can cause tooth sensitivity, but the presence of tooth sensitivity does not necessarily mean you have one or more cavities. If you are unsure, it is important to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Largo for a full examination.

  • The edges of your teeth feel rough.
  • You can see black spots on the crowns or sides of your teeth.
  • You have sharp or throbbing pain that does not go away after eating or drinking.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities can form for a variety of reasons. The number one reason is lack of proper oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day. You may also develop cavities if you eat or drink too much sugar.

If you do develop a cavity, you will need treatment from our dentist in Largo. Depending on the severity of the cavity, you may only need a filling. However, if the tooth is dead, more in-depth treatments may be needed, including root canals and crowns.

To schedule a dental appointment in Largo for an examination and cleaning and to determine if you have a cavity or just tooth sensitivity, call us at 727-581-1869.