Sudden tooth decay?
January 23, 2011 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Sudden tooth decay? I've got three of these spots on my teeth at the gumline that I just noticed this morning. They looked like something stuck to my tooth, but upon closer inspection they seem to be indentations in the tooth. I saw the dentist 5 weeks ago for a cleaning and everything seemed fine. Is this decay, or what?

I'll be calling my dentist on Monday. I'm out of state so if this is anything urgent I'll need to find a new one in my current city.

I brush 2-3 times per day, floss 1-2 times per day.

The only things out of the ordinary for me recently have been:

Have had intermittent sinus congestion for 5 weeks.
Have experienced a white tongue (thrush?) intermittently for 2 weeks (have brushed tongue with toothpaste to remove white stuff).
Started using Tom's of Maine mouthwash about 2-3 times per week for 2 weeks.
Switched my Colgate toothpaste variety to Baking Soda & Peroxide Whitening about 1 week ago.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I am not a dentist, however, I would guess that you grind your teeth and that they're abfractions
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:10 PM on January 23, 2011

I've had these, and in my case they turned out to be cavities. And getting them filled, btw, hurt about 10x worse than any other filling. But it no longer looked like I had spots on my teeth.
posted by amethysts at 7:15 PM on January 23, 2011

I had these too. My aging hygienist (sp?) said that they were tea stains. They turned out to be deep cavities that the hygienist and the dentist "misdiagnosed" for years. One of the teeth with this stain has been root-canaled and the other one is barely holding on. I had them in the same tooth on either side of my mouth. I went to another dentist and he said that because of the symmetry, it could have been a developmental malformation, a little ripple in my teeth as they formed and grew.

I grind my teeth in a big way and so PhoBWanKenobi's link is of particular interest, though I have not looked at it yet...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:11 PM on January 23, 2011

I vote cavities, based on a Google image search for gumline cavities.
posted by Andrhia at 8:12 PM on January 23, 2011

Before you rush to a dentist, stop using the mouthwash, and switch back to a "regular" toothpaste. Try this for two weeks and see what happens.

I freaked out one day when I suddenly discovered brown stains on my teeth. It turned out to be due to Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash. I stopped using it and after two weeks with just flossing and using a plain boring toothpaste (no whitening or tartar control or anything) the stains went away.

Sounds crazy, but it's true. "Tooth staining" is a listed side effect. Here's a Consumerist article on it: "Crest Refunds Teeth-Staining Mouthwash."
posted by ErikaB at 8:46 PM on January 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

The pictures you have posted do look like abfractures as phobiwan has noted. It is unlikely that you would develop a cavity in 5 weeks where none was present prior.
Do you have any temperature sensitivity in the area?
Is that area sensitive to sweets?
Your dentist is the best person to make a diagnosis, and probably wont even charge you to have a quick look, especially if you are an established patient.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:27 AM on January 24, 2011

This looks like what I had a TON of, which my dentist referred to as "facial cavities." He suggested that the enamel on my teeth was worn from a combination of things, namely the adhesive that had been used for my braces, the chemical whitening I had done, and that brushing in a straight back and forth motion had worn down the weak spots.

IANAD but, go to a dentist, get them filled, and start brushing in a circular motion with a super soft toothbrush. :(
posted by citywolf at 1:31 PM on January 24, 2011

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