Is it a Cavity or Tooth Sensitivity?

Although a cavity can lead to tooth pain, cavities and tooth sensitivity are different. Remember to see your dentist for a diagnosis.

What’s That Pain?

Cavity vs Tooth Sensitivity

Nerves in teeth

What It Is

Whether the pain feels short and sharp, or an ongoing dull ache, pain in your teeth shouldn't happen in the first place. It can be a sign of sensitivity, or something more serious such as a cavity. You should see your dentist for a diagnosis.

What It Feels Like

Pinpointing tooth pain icon

Cavity Pain

Can be dull, sharp or short pain, can keep you awake at night, and may be triggered by eating or biting down.

Experiencing tooth sensitivity icon

Tooth Sensitivity Pain

A short, sharp shock of pain often caused by cold or hot food and drink.

How It Happens

Tooth that is dirty from plaque

Tooth Decay Causes (cavities)

Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar we consume in food and drink and produce acids. When left undisturbed on teeth, these acids break down tooth enamel leading to tooth decay or cavities.

Inflammed nerves in teeth

Tooth Sensitivity Causes

When enamel wears down or your gums recede, it exposes the underlying dentin which contains small holes leading to the nerves. Certain triggers, especially cold such as ice water, can set off the nerves inside your teeth causing you pain.

How to Treat It

Woman opening her mouth for the dentist

Cavity Treatment

You must see your dentist for a diagnosis and treatment.