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If you’ve had tooth pain, you know it can ruin your whole day.

If it comes on suddenly, it could be a dental emergency, requiring immediate attention (check out our recent post to determine if you are experiencing one).

The nerves in our teeth and gums are good at telling us when something is wrong. But pinpointing the cause of the pain is another story. 

Here are four common causes of tooth pain:

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth pain. Tooth decay, sometimes called a cavity, is very common (and even more common if you don’t brush and floss regularly or haven’t seen a dentist in a couple of years). 

Some signs of tooth decay include:

  • Tooth pain that happens spontaneously, without any apparent cause
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Tooth pain when eating, especially hot, cold, or sweet items
  • Holes or pits in your teeth
  • Black, brown, or white discoloration on the tooth

Cavities can sneak up on you. They don’t always make their presence known until they’re already developed and you start to feel pain. When you eat sugary or starchy foods, the simple sugars from the food stick around in your mouth, forming plaque. This filmy substance plays host to harmful oral bacteria that attack the enamel on your tooth. Daily brushing and flossing keeps plaque in check, as does regular cleanings from your dentist! (Read our blog post about “Why a Dental Cleaning Can Actually Save You Money”.)

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Tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth pain.

Tooth Abscess

An abscess occurs when a bacterial infection forms a pocket of pus at the root of the tooth. This can occur when a cavity goes untreated. The bacterial infection enters through the open cavity and spreads down to the root. You may have a tooth abscess if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Throbbing toothache that can extend to the jaw and gums
  • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Swelling of the face or cheek
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

As with cavities, you may be at increased risk of developing an abscess if you have poor dental hygiene or consume a diet high in starch or sugar. In some cases, an abscess could rupture, releasing the swelling. This may temporarily mitigate the tooth pain, but you should still see us right away; your infection must be treated by antibiotics and the tooth decay needs to be repaired. Otherwise, this infection could spread to other areas of your mouth.

Damaged Fillings

Dental fillings are used to treat cavities. If you’ve had cavities in your life, you probably have dental fillings in your teeth. But they don’t last forever. The wear and tear of daily chewing can weaken the bond between the filling and the tooth enamel.

A damaged dental filling can be a cause of tooth pain. It can be characterized by these symptoms:

  • The texture, shape, or feel of the tooth is uneven
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Discomfort or pain while eating
  • Pain while flossing
  • Discolored or visibly separated fillings

If you are experiencing this type of tooth pain, it is a good idea to have the filling replaced. Schedule an appointment with Smile Fort Worth today to get your filling taken care of!

Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition where you grind or clench your teeth together. You may be conscious of this, or you may not be. Many people grind their teeth at night and are unaware of it until pain, tenderness, or other symptoms begin to show.

Some signs of bruxism include:

  • Flattened or fractured teeth
  • Chipped or loose teeth
  • Tired or sore jaw muscles
  • Pain that feels like an earache
  • Constant teeth grinding or clenching
  • Worn down tooth enamel

Bruxism can be mild and occasional, but if you are experiencing these symptoms, it is a good idea to see a dentist about it. Drs. Harlin, Wilkinson, and Collins at Smile Fort Worth can analyze your teeth and may recommend a bite guard be worn during sleep to prevent the effects of this condition.

Visit Smile Fort Worth for Tooth Pain Relief

Contact Smile Fort Worth

If it’s been more than six months since your last appointment, schedule an appointment with Smile Fort Worth today.

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