Do I have teeth sensitivity, or I have a cavity?

Both teeth sensitivity and cavity can give you similar symptoms. They are entirely different. However, tooth cavities or dental caries can also cause tooth sensitivity.

What are dental caries?

A cavity or dental caries is a small hole in the surface of the tooth due to decay. In most cases, cavities are a result of a buildup of bacteria on the tooth surface. This buildup is also called plaque. When there is a buildup of food and bacteria on your teeth, it can lead to the formation of plaque. The plaque formed produces acid, which erodes the enamel on the tooth surface. This plaque will continue to erode your enamel, causing cavities if you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly.

If a cavity is left untreated, it can eventually destroy your tooth. It can even lead to severe complications, such as tooth abscess or an infection.

If a cavity is small, it generally will not show any symptoms. But, if the cavity reaches an advanced stage, it can lead to tooth discoloration, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity.

What is dental sensitivity?

On the other hand, dental sensitivity is the pain or discomfort arising from the exposed dentin. This pain is a response to certain stimuli, such as chemical, tactile, thermal or osmotic. Mostly, the trigger is the consumption of hot or cold food and drinks. It can stimulate the nerves present in the teeth. This is also called dentin hypersensitivity due to the exposure of the softer layer underneath your enamel, which is called dentin. Other triggers can be the consumption of acidic, sour or sweet food items. In rare cases, even breathing in cold air can also cause dentin hypersensitivity.

How can you differentiate between dental sensitivity and dental caries?

The main difference between sensitivity and cavity is that tooth sensitivity generally doesn’t come with any other symptoms. However, if it is accompanied by black discolouration of the teeth, a visible hole, radiating pain, etc., most probably it will be a cavity. Also, you can easily identify hypersensitivity if the pain starts only in response to specific triggers.  

Lastly, tooth sensitivity is a result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots, while the dental cavity is caused due to tooth decay. 

Please consult your dentist to identify the cause of the pain or discomfort and never try to treat it on your own.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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