There is no pain like tooth pain. It is persistent and distracting. It can keep you from sleeping and the pain can even put you in danger. However, even though toothaches are so painful, sometimes people put off going to the dentist. They are convinced a trip to the dentist is going to mean painful and expensive dental work.
That is not always true. Sometimes the fix for a toothache may be as easy as a thorough cleaning or getting a nightguard to prevent you from grinding your teeth in your sleep. In fact, the solutions to toothaches are as numerous as the causes of toothaches.
There are four major types of toothaches. Many people will experience temperature sensitivity. Your teeth feel fine, but something too hot or too cold will make you wince. Other times, you have a dull ache in your mouth that seems to never go away. If left alone, the dull ache gets worse over time. Some people may feel fine and then get sharp, stabbing pains that come and go. Finally, there is a severe, throbbing pain. While all dental pain is inconvenient, the severe, throbbing pain requires immediate dental care as it could indicate a serious infection.
The most common cause of tooth pain is probably sensitive teeth. Many of us eat acidic foods that wear away tooth enamel, making us sensitive to hot and cold. Your dentist can inspect your mouth to ensure you do not have any cracked teeth, gum disease or other issues. They may apply sealants. They will probably instruct you to switch to an enamel-building toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
If you still have your wisdom teeth, they could be impacted and cause pain. This is common in people in their early adult years, who did not have their wisdom teeth removed as teenagers. Not all people need wisdom teeth removed- it depends on the size of your mouth.
Gum disease is a potential cause of tooth pain. However, if you get regular dental checkups, your dentist will probably be able to identify gum disease in its earlier stages (gingivitis) and before it progresses to the point of causing pain.
Of course, tooth decay or damage to the tooth’s structure can cause toothaches. When you have a cavity or tooth decay, the surface of your teeth gets destroyed, which can expose the root. That can lead to pain. Regular cleanings, exams, and x-rays are designed to detect cavities before they can become painful. They also help your dentist use less invasive treatments, such as fillings, to treat the cavity.
Finally, abscesses, which are infections inside the tooth, can cause serious pain. They are also a medical emergency. These infections are notoriously painful, can cause high fevers, and can lead to bone loss. The treatment for an abscess is usually a root canal. However, root canals have a bad reputation as a painful treatment. Root canals themselves are awkward and can be uncomfortable, but should not be painful. The dentist thoroughly numbs the area. Plus, while you will leave the office feeling a little sore, in most cases root canals provide immediate relief from the severe pain you were experiencing.
As you can see, several things can cause toothaches. Some of the solutions are non-invasive and others may just take a quick fix. So, the best thing to do is to get to the dentist as quickly as possible. With a dental exam, your dentist should be able to choose the best path to resolve the problem. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 732-556-9600.
Dr. Anthony Mancino is Monmouth and Ocean County New Jersey’s General and Cosmetic Dentist and has been practicing for over 25 years focusing on cosmetic and overall dental health. Dr. Mancino is a graduate of Villanova University and University of Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the American Dental Association, New Jersey Dental Association, Monmouth & Ocean County Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Academy of General Dentistry.