Tooth pain can be caused by many different problems, some of which require no dental treatment at all and others that can be very harmful if left untreated for any length of time. Knowing what causes tooth pain and when to see a dentist can help ensure you seek treatment at the right time.
Here are the most common causes of tooth pain, how to identify them, and what steps should be taken to remedy.
1- Tooth Decay
Over time, bacteria in the mouth use sugars to make acid, which eats away at teeth and can result in decay, or the development of cavities. Cavities are holes in the teeth.
When caught early, cavities can be easily remedied by a simple restoration or filling, but when gone unnoticed, cavities can result in infection or permanent damage to the dental pulp, which require more extensive treatment. In some cases, decay has done so much damage to the tooth that it must be extracted.
The pain caused by decay can be experienced in a few ways: 1) as a sharp pain upon biting down, or 2) as a lingering pain that lasts more than 30 seconds after exposure to hot or cold foods. Decay requires intervention from a dentist. If you believe you may have decay, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
An abscess is an often painful infection at the root of a tooth that results in the formation of a pus-filled sac. In many cases, tooth abscesses occur as a result of severe decay, but they can also result from trauma to the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, gum disease, or gingivitis. In severe cases, the infection may spread beyond the pulp and root of the tooth into surrounding bone and tissue.
An abscessed tooth is serious and typically requires treatment with antibiotics before dental work can be done. The treatment for an abscess is usually root canal treatment followed by either a filling or a crown. In some cases, the tooth must be extracted or further treatment is required.
The pain associated with an abscessed tooth is usually severe, continuous, and either sharp or throbbing, and may be accompanied by facial swelling and sensitivity to hot and cold. If you believe you may have an abscessed tooth, contact your root canal specialist as soon as possible.
3- Cracked Tooth
A tooth can crack as a result of trauma, biting into something very hard like a bone or rock, or decay. Some cracks are very challenging to find while others can be easily identified visually.
The treatment for a cracked tooth varies depending on the individual circumstances. A crack that affects only the crown of the tooth, such as a cusp fracture or a simple chip, can often be treated with a restoration. A crack that affects the pulp of the tooth requires root canal treatment, while a crack that extends into the root of the tooth requires extraction and replacement with a bridge, partial, or dental implant.
The pain experienced with a crack tooth is often most noticeable when chewing and may feel like a sharp pain when biting down or with the release of biting pressure. Catching a crack early can save the tooth; if you believe you may have a cracked tooth, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Bruxism is the medical term for grinding teeth. The pain associated with bruxism is often experienced as a dull ache in the upper jaw or teeth. The treatment for bruxism is often the use of a custom mouth guard at night.
If you believe you’re suffering from bruxism, your dentist can assist. Over-the-counter mouth guards and pain relievers may also help.
5- Recent Dental Work
Recent dental work can result in inflammation of the pulp of the tooth and/or the tissue surrounding the tooth. Novocaine or lidocaine injections can also cause soreness at the injection site.
Pain associated with recent dental work often surfaces as sensitivity to hot and cold and generalized soreness. Dental treatment is generally not necessary; take over-the-counter pain relievers.
There are many other causes of orofacial pain. If you have any question or concern, please contact Omega Dental Specialists, your premier Houston endodontists today! To locate an endodontist near you, Houston Endodontist is located in midtown Houston, two blocks away from downtown Houston.