Do you have a cavity or are your dental concerns less severe than you think? The best way to find out if you have a cavity or not is to visit your dentist, but you can use this guide to help you identify some of your dental woes at home.

Your tooth is sensitive

If only one tooth is sensitive or one part of a tooth is tender, then you may have a cavity. All-over tooth sensitivity is more likely to be related to weakened enamel or another dental issue. Pay attention to when your tooth hurts; if your tooth hurts with hot or cold foods or if it pangs with a stinging or jabbing pain every time you bite into something hard, you may have a cavity.

A sensitive tooth can also be a sign of a cracked or chipped tooth, which is also a dental concern. Make an appointment with your dentist right away if you have any kind of tooth pain or sensitivity.

Your tooth is strangely colored

Your tooth should be the same color as the rest of your teeth. If you have a cavity, the cavity area may appear dark or dull in comparison to the rest of the tooth. If the cavity has progressed into an abscessed or nerve-damaged tooth, the tooth is likely to appear green, gray, brown, or even a near-black in color. Sometimes, a cavity-laden tooth will just have a few dark or shadowy spots, which your dentist will inspect when you make an appointment.

Your tooth has gum swelling

If your gums are swollen or bleeding and you have a cavity, it could be that your gums are responding to the infection in your mouth. A small portion of your gums may be affected if there is a cavity present in your mouth.

Since affected gums can lead to gum disease and other problems, don't ignore any type of gum problems, even if your teeth don't hurt. Your dentist will check your mouth for signs of cavities by doing an oral exam, using laser equipment, or even X rays (especially to identify smaller cavities).

When you have a cavity, your tooth can become quickly infected. The best way to treat a cavity is to have the area professionally treated as soon as possible. Your dentist will give you a recommendation for treatment if a cavity is found in your mouth. Always see your dentist for regular checkups.

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