Sometimes, identifying the presence of a dental cavity is difficult. For instance, it's easy to confuse the positioning of a cavity in lower teeth since tooth pain in that area travels along the trigeminal nerve. Spotting a cavity between two teeth is very difficult, unless you know what to look for. If you suspect that you have a dental cavity between two of your teeth, then look for the following signs.
1. Local Sensitivity to Temperature
One of the easiest ways to spot an interproximal cavity, or a cavity between teeth, is via local sensitivity to temperature. If your other teeth are normally not sensitive to temperature, then you likely be able to spot a cavity using this method. If a cavity is present between two teeth, you will experience sensitivity in the area whenever you expose the area to hot or cold temperatures. This happens because extreme temperatures are able to penetrate the weakened structure of the damaged tooth. When this happens, the nerve inside the tooth transmits a pain signal to your brain.
2. Local Sensitivity to Sugar
If you experience sensitivity pain between two teeth when you eat sugary foods like chocolate, then this could indicate a cavity. Sugary foods hurt because, like temperature, sugar can penetrate a weakened tooth and affect the nerve inside the tooth, leading to sensitivity.
Although you may not see the cavity itself, especially if the cavity is between two back teeth, there might be some discoloration. Early cavities can appear brown in color. Late stage cavities appear black in color. If you see any of these colors where you suspect a cavity is, then you probably have an interproximal cavity.
4. Unpleasant Odor
Cavities are essentially holes in teeth. Bacteria cause these holes with their acidic secretions. Once these holes have formed, they allow bacterial organisms to enter a tooth and reside there while they eat the sugars in the foods you consume. Unfortunately, after they have digested these sugars, oral bacteria release a stinky and acidic compound that causes bad breath. One way of telling if you have a cavity between teeth is to swab the area with a cotton bud. If the cotton bud gives off an unpleasant odor, then a cavity could be the cause.
5. Gum Abscess
If you can't see any of the aforementioned signs, then look for an abscess on the gum in the vicinity of the two teeth where you suspect the cavity is. Abscesses usually appear at the root tip of a tooth and appear white in color as they gradually fill with pus.
If you suspect you have a cavity between two teeth, then see your dentist as soon as you can. Once a cavity penetrates the enamel layer, it can progress very quickly through the weaker dentin layer.