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