Oral & Vision Health Blog

Your Dental Questions Answered: How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

Often the first thought that comes to mind when you are experiencing tooth pain is "Uh oh, I have a cavity." According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of cavities include:

  • A toothache
  • Pain when eating or drinking
  • A hole or pit in your tooth you can see
  • A stain that is brown, black or white
  • Pain when you bite down

However, tooth pain is not the only sign of a cavity. Tooth pain is a common symptom for many cases. You may ask yourself, “How do I know if I have a cavity? What are the signs?” We'll have these dental questions answered for you! 

Tooth Sensitivity

Sometimes a tooth becomes sensitive to temperature. If you experience a sharp pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold, you may have a sensitive tooth. If your gums are receding your tooth could become more sensitive than it was previously. It is also possible that your tooth enamel is thinning. Make an appointment with your dentist to have the pain checked out and consider switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Cracked Tooth

A sharp pain that occurs when you bite down on food could be due to a cracked tooth. Even though it’s not a cavity, you will still need your dentist to look at the effected tooth so they can provide a treatment plan before the tooth gets infected and worsens the pain.


A throbbing pain in your mouth that persists even when you are not chewing food could be caused by an infection such as an abscess tooth. An infection in your mouth needs to be taken care of immediately before it becomes a health emergency. Contact your dentist as soon as possible to set up an appointment.

A Health Issue

There’s a possibility that your discomfort is not even related to your teeth at all. A sinus infection can cause pain in your upper teeth. Typically, you simultaneously be experiencing some congestion and a stuffy nose.

Heart disease can also cause pain around your teeth and jaws. Therefore, the safest route is to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and proper medication. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Jaw Pain

Are you experiencing jaw pain in the morning? It may be caused by bruxism which is when people grind their teeth and it generally happens at night when they are sleeping. If you are absolutely sure that you do not grind your teeth or clench your jaw, the other causes of jaw pain could be:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Impacted molars

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, it could be as anything from tooth sensitivity to an infection. Your dentist can diagnose a cavity by examining you and taking an X-ray. See your dentist as soon as possible... Are you worried about a costly visit?? Don’t have a current dentist to go to? Find out which dental plan is right for you...


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