Do you have some discomfort in your teeth? Maybe you’re feeling sensitive, or there’s a bit of pain. It might be time to seek out a dentist. 

When left untreated, cavities can turn into larger and more serious conditions that require more than just a filling or two. Deep cavities can reach the nerve and require a root canal, or in worse cases, a complete extraction.

If that doesn’t sound fun to you, it’s best if you can catch the signs you have a cavity right away and get to a dentist for an official diagnosis and treatment. 

Not sure what to look for? If you’re lucky enough to never have had a cavity before, it can be hard to tell. We’re here to help. 

Here how to learn how to tell if you have a cavity so you can get to the dentist as soon as possible!

Consistent Pain

This is one of the tell-tale signs of a cavity that’s noticed by patients early-on. While the occasional pain in the teeth is normal, when you’ve been dealing with a consistent toothache, there’s something wrong.

This can be something along the lines of an erupting or irritated wisdom tooth or even a cracked tooth that’s gone unnoticed. 

Tip: cracked or chipped teeth can lead to cavities. 

When you’ve been feeling persistent aching, it’s time to see the dentist. Whether it’s a cavity or not, you deserve to get treatment and pain relief. 

Bad Breath and A Copper Taste

Similar to the pain, bad breath from time to time isn’t uncommon or a cause for alarm. Most people experience some kind of “morning breath” and anyone who uses a lot of aromatics in their food knows that their breath isn’t minty-fresh all the time. 

When your bad breath happens constantly, though, it’s time to get it checked out. You should have neutral breath even when the minty taste of toothpaste is long-gone. 

Whether other people notice or it’s only you, it can get worse as the cavity progresses. You may even be experiencing the early stages of gum disease. 

This is also true if you have a bad taste, or the taste of metal, in your mouth. It can be the taste of blood from the gums or the taste of the decay in the teeth. Either way, that’s a sign that there’s a cavity lurking in your mouth.  

Visible Marks

A sure sign of a cavity is marks or holes in the teeth. Teeth should have a consistent coloring that’s off-white (or pearly white if you’ve gotten whitening treatments or other cosmetic services). 

You may see black, brown, or purple discoloration on the top of your teeth when you look into your mouth with a flashlight. You may also see holes or dark spots on the top and sides of your teeth. 

These are all signs of tooth decay, and you should see a dentist as soon as possible. 

Eating Is Painful

When you’re eating, does it hurt to chew? Do you find yourself avoiding one side of your mouth?

Pain or discomfort while eating isn’t normal and it can disrupt your day to day life, as well as your diet. When you tell a dental office that you’re experiencing pain that stops you from eating normally, they may even consider it a dental emergency. 

A Pink Toothbrush

It’s always a shock when you’re brushing your teeth and your toothpaste foam or toothbrush is pink afterward. What does that mean? 

It means that your gums are bleeding, even if it’s only a little bit. When you have tooth decay, your gums get irritated and inflamed. This irritation, while you may not notice it when you’re not brushing, causes bleeding when the gums are rubbed or brushed. 

This is another sign of gum disease.

You may also notice that your gums are swollen or discolored. Gums should be a soft pink color. When they’re a darker red, or even a pale pink or white, it means that something is wrong. 

Sensitivity to Heat and Cold 

Occasional sensitivity isn’t a cause for alarm. When the sensitivity is consistent and you haven’t recently had dental or orthodontic work done, it should be addressed by a dentist. 

When your tooth has a hole (or cavity) there’s less distance between your food and drinks and the nerve. 

This means that any kind of “extreme” temperature (even if it isn’t extreme to you) can cause a stinging feeling. You may experience what feels like a burn from hot food or drinks, or a shock from anything colder than room-temperature water.

Nothing at All

Did you know that you can have a cavity without any symptoms? 

Cavities start small and grow over time. Mild cavities may be able to repair themselves, but if you don’t notice them you won’t know to stop the behavior that’s causing the cavity in the first place. 

Cavity progression can be delayed with fluoride and proper dental hygiene techniques, but you’ll likely have to see a dentist for treatment. 

This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to see a dentist two or three times per year. They can catch any bad habits before a cavity starts, or catch a cavity in its early stages so you don’t have to go through the pain and sensitivity later on. 

Not everyone feels pain or other cavity symptoms when they get a cavity until it has progressed to something more serious. 

Are You Experiencing Signs You Have a Cavity? 

If you’ve noticed any of these signs you have a cavity (or if you’re worried about cavities in general), it’s time for a dental checkup. Regular dental checkups help you keep your teeth safe and clean so you can ease your mind. 

If you’re looking for a dentist in Highlands Ranch, CO, visit our site. Contact us to book your appointment today.