My back-most tooth feels funny, do I have a cavity?
November 17, 2007 12:31 PM   Subscribe

My back-most tooth feels funny, do I have a cavity?

I am 24 and have never had a cavity. For the past two week or so one of my back-most teeth has been slightly sensitive when I chew sweet foods with it.

It doesn't hurt, instead I can just "feel something" in the tooth. It is hard to describe, but I would go out on a limb and say it feels slightly ticklish.

When I clean out my mouth with water or brush my teeth the feeling goes away.

I used a system of two mirrors to take a look and the tooth and could see nothing blatantly wrong (of course, I am not a dentist).

Do I have a cavity?
Can I get rid of it without seeing the dentist?
posted by chrisalbon to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Feel with your tongue, a cavity would feel like a hole in your tooth, or a jagged edge.
Apart from that, only an X-Ray would tell if it's between your teeth or somewhere you can't reach.
posted by PowerCat at 12:37 PM on November 17, 2007

Dunno if it's a cavity, but a visit to the dentist seems like a safe bet at this point. The longer you wait, the worse it will get (if it is a cavity.) It may be a soft spot in your tooth trying to become a cavity. The dentist should be able to clean that right up and save you from a painful drilling experience later.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 12:44 PM on November 17, 2007

My fingers are moving. Do I have a nervous condition?

It's hard to say. FWIW, I have have similar short-term sensations, gone to the dentist, and found nothing wrong. But I don't think it's possible to say in your case. Again, FWIW, I didn't do anything that made it go away.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:29 PM on November 17, 2007

You're in your mid twenties - do you have all your wisdom teeth yet? It could be you've got one coming through and you're misidentifing the location of the pain/sensation.
posted by missmagenta at 1:33 PM on November 17, 2007

fyi, you can't get rid of a cavity--you have to get it filled. they can go a while before they become bothersome, but they do eventually have to get taken care of. go see the dentist.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:45 PM on November 17, 2007

Listen, I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again: the thing about tooth problems is they always get worse and it always gets more expensive to fix them.

That being said, as an also not dentist (but damn I've had a lot of work done), slight sensitivity to sweets, or temperature extremes can be nothing much. Could it be the first sign of something

But it's moot because you need to start going to the dentist at least once a year - there are a dozen AskMe questions about getting dentistry on the cheap out there and no other excuse makes much sense. So figure out how to get some dental care and let a dentist tell you, because it turns out non-dentists can't diagnose dental problems over the internet. And if it's a cavity, no, you can't fix it without a dentist.
posted by nanojath at 1:48 PM on November 17, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks all,

I go to the dentist every 6 months (great university dental insurance). I have an appointment in February.
posted by chrisalbon at 2:15 PM on November 17, 2007

Sometimes my teeth hurt when I have a migraine coming on. If you have migraines, and the pain comes and goes and different teeth seem to hurt each time, then it's just one of those lovely benefits that some migraineurs get, and nothing you can do will make it particularly better or worse.

If you don't get migraines, and the pain is always in the same tooth, then yes, you need to see a dentist. Waiting until February might be safe, but it might not. One of murphy's laws of dental care is that if a tooth problem is going to graduate from a toothache to OMG I'VE NEVER BEEN IN THIS MUCH PAIN EVER!!!!! it will do it in the middle of the night on a weekend. So it's up to you whether you want to take that risk.
posted by happyturtle at 2:44 PM on November 17, 2007

I was convinced I had a cavity once and it was indeed a wisdom tooth coming in.
posted by beachhead2 at 3:16 PM on November 17, 2007

It could also be a sinus problem (if it's a tooth on the top).
posted by bluefrog at 3:33 PM on November 17, 2007

My dentist once said they'd be out of business if it wasn't for people getting popcorn kernels stuck in their teeth -- been eating any of that lately?
posted by Eringatang at 4:07 PM on November 17, 2007

Could just be receding gums. Sensitivity to sweet/acidic/cold food or drinks is a common symptom.
posted by Jazz Hands at 4:09 PM on November 17, 2007

If you're actually worried about it, see a dentist. We can't look inside your mouth over the internet.

posted by tehloki at 4:11 PM on November 17, 2007

Response by poster: Interesting suggestion Jazz Hands. After reading up on receding gums that might just be it.
posted by chrisalbon at 4:12 PM on November 17, 2007

one of my teeth started hurting and I was convinced it was a cavity.
Turns out, I was clenching and/or grinding my teeth at night. I got a night-guard and am much happier.

moral of the story: see the dentist. they specialize in teethy stuff.
posted by j at 4:34 PM on November 17, 2007

One of my teeth felt funny when i chewed (especially on sweets, or seeded bread), then eventually hurt, and I thought it was a cavity, and my dentist was like "yeah well, let's take a look" as if dubious of my claims ...

Long story short it was a cavity. Either way the dentist is probably the only one who can help you out.
posted by shownomercy at 6:08 PM on November 17, 2007

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