We use our teeth on a daily basis — mostly for eating our daily sustenance and a little bit for smiling! Now imagine if you have tooth pain, how hard would it to be to eat? To smile? Now imagine if you have unbearable tooth pain? You get the picture. You don’t have to be a dentist to diagnose your tooth pain — here are some tips if you’re experiencing pain in your teeth.
Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth pain. A cavity can cause sensitivity to hot or cold food. While toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help, if the pain continues, you may have deep decay that has spread to the tooth’s pulp.
Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods may have tooth decay, worn tooth enamel, or an exposed root. When the tooth’s protective layer of enamel erodes, dentin (the bony tissue of the tooth) is vulnerable, making teeth sensitive.
A sharp, searing pain (somewhat like an ‘electric shock’) could indicate a cracked or chipped tooth. Cracked teeth are caused by accidents, injuries or from chewing on hard objects such as ice.
A sharp pain when biting down on food can indicate a loose filling, and this can also cause a severe toothache.
When the root of the tooth is infected, it can develop an abscess. This can cause a tooth to feel ‘hot’ due to inflammation that agitates the nerve. Depending the extent of damage, a root canal may be needed to repair the tooth. An untreated infection can become serious if it spreads to the jaw bone or other neighbouring tissues.
Sometimes teeth are sore or sensitive after dental surgery or dental treatment. Be sure to speak with your dentist before any procedures so you will know what to expect and what to do if you are experiencing unrelieved pain.
Bruxism is the medical term for grinding teeth. Many adults may grind their teeth when they sleep, causing a dull ache in the jaw and upper teeth. Bruxism can wear away tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities or cracked teeth. A dentist can create a customized mouth guard to protect teeth while sleeping.
If you do have severe tooth pain, see your dentist as soon as possible because timely intervention can help avoid more costly dental work later.