As the old saying goes, prevention is better than any cure, but occasionally tooth pain might be the prompt you need to visit the dentist.
Whether it’s a dull ache that comes and goes or a sharp pain when eating, here’s what you need to know about tooth pain and why you should visit your dentist sooner rather than later.
Ouch, but why?
In a nutshell, pain is a protective response that sends a signal to the brain informing it something is wrong.
In teeth this discomfort is usually generated by the nerves inside the tooth’s pulp chamber and that pain may range from minor sensitivity to an ongoing ache. Either way it’s best to consult your dentist about the cause.
Seven possible causes
Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
Lasting only a few seconds, this type of pain generally doesn’t signal a serious problem. Likely causes include thinning tooth enamel, a small area of decay, loose fillings, teeth grinding or even receding gums.
Definitely consult your dentist but you can also try toothpaste suited to sensitive teeth. Make sure you brush gently and if an exposed root surface is the likely culprit, keep the area free of bacteria.
Sensitivity after dental treatment
Some dental procedures, like crowns, fillings and tooth bleaching may make your teeth more sensitive than usual, and the likelihood is this will last only a few days after treatment. If it lasts longer see your dentist and describe what’s going on.
Sharp pain when biting down
This is definitely one for the experts, with loose fillings, decay and a cracked tooth among the likely causes. See you dentist as soon as possible before the pain becomes more severe.
Lingering pain after eating or drinking
If pain lingers after eating, chances are there is decay or damage to the pulp. This type of pain is associated with the pulp becoming inflamed. Again, it’s one for the dentist, to ensure the situation doesn’t worsen and become a tooth abscess.
Dull ache and sinus pressure
Research indicates it’s more difficult for the brain to distinguish between different areas of pain in the mouth than in any other part of the body, which sometimes makes the cause of a problem difficult to determine.
This can be the case with dull aches in the upper back teeth. Often accompanied by sinus pressure, the problem may not be your teeth at all, but rather an inflammation of the sinuses.
That said, consult your dentist to rule out tooth decay or loose fillings first.
Acute, constant pain
Acute constant pain is a definite sign you need to see your dentist…now, as it’s usually related to pulp inflammation and decay that is very close to the nerve.
The sooner you consult the experts, the better chance you have of saving that tooth.
Severe pain and pressure, sensitive to the touch
Severe pain and sensitivity could mean the pulp has now become infected and may have developed into an abscess in the surrounding periodontal tissue.
This requires an urgent visit to the dentist to get the infection under control before fixing the tooth.
How to avoid tooth pain
The above are just some examples of how pain may manifest and the causes that could underpin it. The upshot is, if you are experiencing tooth pain, see your dentist sooner rather than later. Pain is a sign something is wrong and it’s highly unlikely it will get better on its own.
In the meantime, the best way to avoid tooth pain and the problems that cause it, is to see your dentist every year without fail.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.