It’s easy to jump to conclusions when you experience tooth sensitivity or unexplained mouth pain: is it a cavity? Do you need a root canal? What about a crown?

You might find yourself in front of the bathroom mirror with your cell phone’s light shining into your mouth. You’ll inspect your teeth, and you may or may not find anything suspicious. How do you know if you have a cavity?

You’ll need a dentist to assess your tooth, take some x-rays, and if you have a cavity, he will diagnose it and discuss treatment. Here’s what Dr. Fulcher says about your cavity questions:

“It’s hard to know if you have a cavity. Oftentimes, you may be symptom free. Let’s hope you don’t have one! If you are having symptoms, like sensitivity to sweets or hot and cold pain, it may mean something worse than a cavity, such as an abscess of infection. “

Here’s a quick rundown of questions to help determine if you need to see your dentist:

1. If you are having tooth sensitivity to sweets, it’s likely you have cavities. Typically in these cases, fillings are in order.

2. If you are having tooth sensitivity to hot and/or cold, then it’s likely you have a deep cavity that has reached the nerve. Typically in these cases, something more than a filling is in order, such as a root canal or extraction.

3. If you are having pain when you bite down, then it’s likely something is broken or you have an abscess/infection. Typically in these cases, the root canal/extraction scenario is likely.

4. If you have a filling or crown that has “fallen out”, then it’s likely that there is an underlying cause, such as a deep cavity underneath the filling or crown. Typically in these cases, something more than a new filling or crown is required.

All-in-all, it’s important to have regular visits to the dentist to avoid more extensive and costly procedures. Catch problems when they are small. Nothing in dentistry gets better on its own. It only progresses to bad and worse, all while getting more and more costly. Keep in mind, however, that whether you are getting a filling, crown, root canal, extraction, or anything else, you should be numb and able to have the treatment completed without feeling it. Don’t be afraid! We’re here to help.

If you’re suspicious of having a cavity, clear up your concerns and schedule an appointment with My Dental today!