One of the most common reasons that prompt a dental visit is dental pain or toothache. And there are several types of pain that you may experience. For some, it may be very shallow tooth sensitivity that is triggered by the consumption of hot or cold drinks or food. Meanwhile, others may feel a severe, sharp pain that may render them unable to go about their day.
The good news is that most sudden and minor toothaches are easily treatable. But whether it is just passing sensitivity or extensive pain, Sierra Dental has experienced dentists that can aid in accurate diagnosis for the proper and effective treatment.
What causes tooth sensitivity or pain? How do I treat it?
Before we proceed with treating any dental pain, our dentists will first identify its cause. From there, we can design a more targeted treatment plan to address your concerns.
Here are the 12 most common causes why your teeth hurt and their respective treatments:
1. Exposure to extreme hot or cold
Tooth sensitivity is commonly caused by the exposure of your teeth nerves to extreme hot or cold drinks. Sensitivity impulses are perceived by your teeth nerves as pain and this translates as sharp discomfort. But, this immediately wears off as soon as the affecting stimulus is removed.
Treatment: Your dentist may advise enamel remineralization procedures such as fluoride varnish. This can effectively protect your tooth from sudden changes in temperature in the food you intake. Desensitizing toothpaste may also be recommended.
2. Cracked tooth or crown
Sometimes, a crack on the tooth is very hard to see. Especially if it is located on your back teeth. So you would only know about it when you experience pain or sensitivity in the area.
Treatment: A cracked tooth can be restored with a filling or crown to help resolve the pain. But if the damage is too extensive for a restoration, your Calgary dentist may recommend a tooth extraction.
3. Gum recession
Your gums may naturally pull away from your teeth as you age. This may also happen with harsh toothbrushing techniques that tug the gums to cause gum recession. When the gums are pulled back, the roots of your teeth are left exposed. These are highly sensitive areas that may be triggered with a simple blow of air and during eating and brushing.
Treatment: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and practicing proper brushing techniques can prevent the progress of gum recession.
But the gums will not grow back, so the tooth will need a restoration to cover the exposed roots. This is done with composite resin fillings. Then, continue good oral hygiene practices to prevent future teeth sensitivity problems.
4. Enamel (dentin) erosion
Enamel or dentin hypersensitivity is a common reaction of worn-down teeth. This happens due to hard brushing, frequent consumption of acidic food, and even medical conditions that cause vomiting. These affect the hard tooth structures that are supposed to protect your tooth nerves. So when they wear off, you may experience severe sensitivity.
Treatment: Mild erosion can still be treated with fillings or veneers. But if there is a significant amount of tooth structure involved, crowns may be a better solution. It is best to visit Sierra Dental for proper assessment and treatment.
5. Tooth decay (cavity)
Bacteria from tooth decay eat away the tooth enamel. And like enamel erosion, this exposes the inside of the tooth which houses your nerves, so you are likely to feel sharp sensitivity. And if this is left untreated, it may result in tooth infection, leading to more extensive pain.
Treatment: Decay progresses rapidly. So as soon as you see any black or brown spots or a hole in your tooth, schedule a visit with your dentist for early intervention. This can be treated with simple tooth fillings.
But if an infection is present, root canal therapy is an excellent option to alleviate the pain and restore the health of your tooth.
6. Gum infection
Gum disease or gingivitis usually manifests as redness of the gums that easily bleed whenever you brush your teeth. If there is teeth sensitivity present, it may be a sign of escalating gum disease.
Treatment: In its early stages, gum disease is still reversible. Your treatment will focus on removing plaque and irritants and reinforcing your oral hygiene routine. Gingivitis should be resolved as early as possible to prevent progression which may lead to irreversible periodontal disease.
7. Grinding or clenching jaws
If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth at night or whenever you are stressed, you may find that the edges of your teeth are flat or worn down. This is a dental problem called bruxism or night grinding that can lead to chronic sensitivity of the teeth as the enamel continues to wear down.
Treatment: Your teeth may still be preserved with tooth bonding, veneers, or crowns. But the problem will continue unless the cause is addressed.
For teeth grinding, habit breakers such as stress management programs and mouthguards should be prescribed. This will prevent further damage and will keep your restored teeth looking pristine.
8. Dental procedures
Sensitivity from a recently placed tooth filling is quite common. So you shouldn’t worry as this is not a cause for alarm. This happens when your dentist drills very near to your tooth nerves whenever restoring a deep-seated decay or cavity.
Treatment: No treatment is required unless the problem persists for more than 2 weeks. By then, it is recommended that you visit your dentist so they can take a closer look.
9. Teeth bleaching products
Teeth whiteners contain varying amounts of bleaching ingredients that seep into your teeth to remove stains. This is also an ingredient that causes teeth sensitivity. Whether you use drugstore whiteners or had your professional teeth whitening with your dentist, this is a common scenario that happens during and after the whitening procedure.
Treatment: Sensitivity from teeth whitening should subside in about a week. During that time, you are advised to take it easy on hot or cold drinks as these may further trigger the discomfort.
But for a safer whitening process, it is better to consult with your dentist. Most professional whitening systems nowadays are formulated to be gentle to the enamel for no to minimal sensitivity.
10. Sinus infection
Your sinuses are hollow spaces just below your eyes. Infection of the sinus happens due to a viral or bacterial infection. It may be due to the extraction of your upper teeth, causing an unwanted perforation to the lining of your sinus. Common symptoms of sinus infection include pain in the jaws and teeth.
Treatment: Over-the-counter decongestants may help relieve discomfort in the sinus area especially if caused by a viral infection. Meanwhile, sinus perforation is best treated with surgery to close the opening between your sinus and mouth.
11. Tooth Trauma
Engaging in contact sports or accidents may cause hard blows to the face. While you may not feel pain immediately after, you may experience sensitivity after a few hours or days. Do not ignore this as it may be a sign of a dying tooth.
Treatment: A direct blow to the tooth may cause damage to its blood supply. You will initially feel a dull pain which may subside in the coming days. Treatment may vary after getting your X-rays, but your dentist may be able to save your tooth with root canal therapy.
12. Wisdom teeth
And lastly, a usual cause of toothache for older teens or younger adults is their wisdom tooth. Because there is usually no space for the wisdom tooth to emerge properly into your mouth, it comes out diagonally against your other teeth and even your gums.
Some signs that your wisdom tooth is about to come in are jaw pain, difficulty opening the mouth, pain when eating, and soreness of the gums.
Treatment: Pain associated with the wisdom tooth prompts wisdom tooth extraction. Because for as long as the tooth is in the mouth, it will only cause more problems such as lingering pain and infection.
Know When To Visit Your Dentist
If it is the first time you experience tooth sensitivity or pain, it is best to visit your dentist as early as possible so they can identify the cause and treat it. Minor dental pain can be treated with desensitizers or tooth restoration.
The more you prolong your emergency dental visit, the more extensive the dental work may be. What could be repaired with simple fillings may now need crowns or even extraction.
Preventing Tooth Sensitivity and Pain
With good hygiene practices, your enamel will remain intact to protect your teeth from factors that may cause tooth sensitivity. Aside from that, visiting your dentist for regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning are also excellent preventative measures. These routine procedures help restore and maintain the health of your tooth and prevent teeth sensitivity problems.
Do Your Teeth Hurt?
You should never take a toothache for granted. To know the best treatment that will prevent tooth pain from affecting your day, visit us at Sierra Dental for a comprehensive assessment. We have a broad range of options and skilled dentists to can help treat pain, prevent further damage, and maintain good oral health.