You Don’t Need to Suffer from Tooth Pain Any Longer
Why Your Teeth Hurt and What to Do About it
Nothing can ruin a day quite like a toothache. Sometimes the pain can feel itchy and annoying, other times all you can do is lay on the couch and close your eyes, hoping the pain will stop. But one similarity that all toothaches share is that they’re always trying to tell you something.
Toothaches and even the mildest tooth pain is your body’s way of saying, “Hey! We need to see a dentist!” The reason toothaches should always be taken seriously is because of how our teeth are built. Tooth enamel has no feeling, but the inner layer—or pulp—does, meaning if we feel tooth pain, the damage has already gone past the enamel and has reached the sensitive inner layers.
Let’s take a look at what might be causing the tooth pain you’re experiencing.
Why Toothaches Happen
Toothaches aren’t always caused by cavities. There are actually several reasons why teeth become painful, sensitive, or tender.
Here are 7 dental problems linked to toothaches or general tooth pain.
1. Enamel Erosion
Are your teeth feeling really sensitive, especially when eating or drinking something hot or cold? Chronic tooth sensitivity can often be caused by enamel erosion, resulting in thinner than normal enamel. Thin enamel makes the nerves within your tooth much more vulnerable to temperature changes, and causes that sharp surprise of pain when you bite into that ice cream.
2. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay often leads to nagging toothaches. At first, they may come and go, perhaps only flaring up when you eat something sweet. But don’t be fooled. Tooth decay only worsens without treatment and eventually can lead to debilitating pain once the decay reaches the sensitive pulp layer of your tooth.
Bruxism—or chronic teeth grinding—often leads to a general feeling of tenderness around the teeth and in the jaw. You might also notice your teeth seem to be wearing down or chipping. Bruxism can destroy otherwise healthy teeth unless a dentist can treat the root issue and provide a custom oral appliance to wear at night.
4. Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are usually removed before they have a chance to erupt. Many people don’t have enough jaw space for their wisdom teeth, resulting in these molars becoming crooked and impacted. If you still have wisdom teeth and feel general soreness or a dull ache in the back of your mouth, they could be to blame.
5. Dental Abscess
A dental abscess not only causes the most painful type of toothache, but it can also become medically significant without treatment. Dental abscesses are a trapped infection around a tooth that typically requires emergency dental care and antibiotics. In extreme cases where you develop a high fever and facial swelling, a trip to the ER may be necessary if an emergency dentist isn’t available.
6. Failed Restoration
A failed restoration usually happens when dental work becomes damaged or reaches the end of its lifespan. Common examples include a loose filling or one that’s completely fallen out, or a loose or broken dental crown. Both of these can cause sharp pain when pressure is put on the tooth, like when eating.
7. Fractured Tooth
A tooth can become fractured for many reasons. Even though healthy tooth enamel is exceptionally strong, sometimes simply biting down hard on a popcorn kernel could be enough to crack or fracture a tooth. Fractured teeth can vary when it comes to pain severity, but even if you have no pain but can feel a crack, always see your dentist for help.
What to Do if You Have a Toothache
If you’re actively experiencing a toothache, the best course of action is to call your dentist for assistance. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever to take the edge off the pain, and try comforting solutions like warm compresses.
The internet is littered with toothache remedies, but most of these are either ineffective or even dangerous. Always check with your dentist before trying any home remedy.
How Toothaches Are Treated
Most toothaches are treated in three steps: diagnosing the issue, removing the decay or infection, and repairing damage to the tooth.
After Dr. Garcia has determined why you’re experiencing tooth pain, she’ll move forward with one or more of these treatment options.
1. Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are the most frequently performed restorative dentistry services to treat mild to moderate tooth decay. After removing the decay, Dr. Garcia will thoroughly clean the tooth and apply a dental composite to fill the cavity. The composite material is color-matched to your tooth to ensure a seamless finish.
2. Dental Crowns
A dental crown is a great alternative when a tooth has experienced too much damage and a filling can’t adequately repair it. Dr. Garcia provides zirconia, porcelain, and gold dental crowns, based on the patient’s needs. Dental crowns are also appropriate for protecting a chronically sensitive tooth with thin enamel.
3. Root Canal Therapy
Modern root canals don’t cause pain, they stop it, and they often save teeth from extraction. When a tooth is severely decayed or broken, Dr. Garcia will perform a root canal to remove any decay, infection, and inflammation inside the tooth. She’ll then finish the treatment by placing a dental crown over the top.
4. Periodontal Therapy
Periodontal therapy is a treatment program for patients with gum disease, from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. It involves specialized deep cleanings to remove infection, bacteria, and debris trapped within the gums and, in severe cases, may include periodontal surgery.
5. Extraction and Prosthetic
Dentists focus on saving teeth, but great dentists like Dr. Garcia can also judge when a tooth can no longer be saved. If you have wisdom teeth or a tooth is no longer a candidate for treatment, extraction may be the best option for maintaining your overall oral health. But don’t worry—having a tooth removed isn’t the end of a beautiful smile. Dr. Garcia provides prosthetic replacements in the form of dental bridges, dentures, and stunning dental implants.
Don’t Wait to Schedule Your Appointment
Remember that all tooth pain, no matter how mild or intermittent, should always be evaluated by a dentist. If you’ve been experiencing a toothache or discomfort, don’t wait until your next check-up. Call our family dentistry practice in Austin, TX, to book a visit with Dr. Garcia.