Cavities vs Teeth Sensitivity
A tooth cavity is different from a tooth sensitivity, though most people may not be able to tell as their symptoms are somewhat the same. While a cavity can lead to tooth sensitivity, their causes and treatments are different. The presence of tooth sensitivity does not necessarily mean you have one or more cavities.
The Difference in Pain
A cavity can cause similar pain to sensitive teeth when triggered by heat or cold, but additionally, cavities are often triggered by sweet foods and drinks, too. A dull pain can also be felt if you bite down on the affected tooth.
Cavity pain can get worse over time as the cavity can grow in size and depth. You may have only one tooth with a cavity that causes pain. On the other hand, a sensitive tooth flares up with sharp pain when immediately on contact with cold (like ice cream) or heat (like coffee).When the cold or heat stimulus is removed, the pain ceases. Sensitivity usually affects several teeth, not just one.
Possible Causes of Cavities and Sensitivity
Cavities are caused by sugars and starches which create plaque on teeth. Plaque has bacteria that breaks down the enamel gradually, creating a hole that decays. On the other hand, when enamel weakens and wears down, the underlying layer with lots of nerves is exposed. Cold or heat affect the nerves causing pain. That’s a sensitive tooth.