A cavity refers to a fragment of decay in your tooth that can become infected if not treated. A stain, on the other hand, is a discoloration of your teeth caused either by food or another liquid.
Most people get cavities at some point during their lifetime. Not only is it painful, but tooth decay can be expensive to have repaired. If you’re not sure if your teeth have a cavity or if there’s a noticeable stain, it can be hard to determine if your teeth are damaged.
If you’re wondering about the differences between stain vs cavity, we’re here to help. Keep reading for our breakdown of everything you need to know!
What is a Cavity?
Tooth cavities are permanent holes in your teeth that can only be fixed by a dentist. Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which is the breakdown of the tooth enamel by acids. There are two main types of dental cavities: those caused by tooth decay and those caused by tooth wear.
What is a Tooth Stain?
Tooth stains are simply superficial discolorations of the tooth enamel that can be removed by professional teeth cleaning or at-home teeth whitening treatments.
There are two main types of tooth stains:
Extrinsic stains are on the surface of the teeth and can be removed with regular brushing and flossing. Intrinsic stains are deeper and can be more difficult to remove.
Stain vs Cavity, How to Tell the Difference?
To the untrained eye, a cavity and a stain on your teeth can look very similar. However, there are some key differences that can help you tell them apart. Cavities are usually smaller and deeper than stains, and they are usually located in the crevices and grooves of your teeth.
Stains, on the other hand, are usually larger and more shallow, and they tend to be located on the surface of your teeth. Cavities also tend to be darker in color than stains. If you’re not sure whether you have a cavity or a stain, your best bet is to see a dentist.
How to Check for Cavity?
When checking for a cavity, first look for any obvious signs of decay, such as holes or cracks in the teeth. Next, gently poke the suspect tooth with a clean finger to see if it is sensitive to touch. If the tooth is sensitive, it is likely that you have the Gumline Cavity.
Causes of Cavities and Stains
Tooth decay is the result of bacteria in the mouth breaking down carbohydrates and producing acids that etch away at the tooth enamel. The most common cause of tooth wear is abrasive brushing, which can wear away the outer layer of the teeth. Staines are typically caused by foods, drinks, or tobacco that cling to the teeth and cause discoloration.
When to See a Dentist for Evaluation?
There are a few ways to tell the difference between stain vs cavity. However, cavities and stains can both be present on teeth. If you have concerns about your oral health, it’s important to see a dentist for evaluation.
Some signs that you may need to see a dentist include tooth pain or sensitivity, mouth sores, tooth discoloration, and gums that are red, swollen, or bleeding. If you notice any of these changes, schedule an appointment with your dentist. They can evaluate your oral health and determine the best course of treatment.
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