Whether it's sharp and sudden or dull and constant, tooth pain is hard to ignore. A toothache is caused when the nerve in the root of a tooth or surrounding a tooth is irritated. Dental (tooth) infection, decay, injury, or loss of a tooth are the most common causes of dental pain. Pain may also occur after an extraction (tooth is pulled out). Pain sometimes originates from other areas and radiates to the jaw, thus appearing to be tooth pain. The most common areas include the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ), ear pain, sinuses, and even occasional heart problems.
Tooth sensitivity can occur when tooth enamel has been worn down, and the dentin or the even the nerves of teeth are exposed. When these surfaces are exposed, eating or drinking something with an extremely low or high temperature may cause you to feel a sudden, sharp flash of pain.
Using desensitizing toothpaste can help control this uncomfortable problem. Still, only a visit to your dentist can really get to the core cause.
Enamel (dentin) erosion
The dentin is the part of our tooth structure directly underneath the enamel. Sensitivity can be caused by many different factors that can range from consuming a highly acidic diet, brushing your teeth too hard with a hard toothbrush, or even being over-zealous with mouth wash. When the protective enamel coating is gone and not replaced sharp stabbing pains can occur. Enamel will not grow back once it is gone, but calcifying and desensitizing toothpastes can help reduce the discomfort. To permanently fix this discomfort, your dentist can cover and fill the exposed dentin with filling material, or if a large amount of dentin is missing, a crown can be used to cover the exposed tooth surface completely.
Cavity can take quite a while to develop on a tooths surface and could cause sensitivity and discomfort. Unlike a wound on our skin, a dental cavity will not heal itself. If detected and treated early, it can usually be fixed with the placement of a filling. If ignored or left undetected, it can potentially lead to an infection, the need for a crown, or even loss of the tooth.
A visit to the dentist can cause tooth sensitivity. Recent fillings or dental work involving drilling can temporarily inflame the nerve endings of your teeth and make them more sensitive. Deep cleanings and long overdue dental cleanings can also cause some minor tooth discomfort. Dental treatment sensitivity generally only lasts a couple of days but can, in some people, last as long as two weeks.
-If you recently had a filling or crown and after a couple of days, you still have sensitivity reach out to your dentist, your bite might be slightly wrong, or the nerve of the tooth can be acting up and should be examined sooner rather than later.
Cracked tooth or dental crown
Cracks in teeth that cause discomfort can be so small that they are nearly impossible to see. Sometimes it is only through the process of elimination or specific dental tests that a cracked tooth can be detected, but sometimes a piece of a tooth or portion of a crown can all out in your sink when brushing, flossing, or eating.
-Cracked teeth and crowns must be repaired, or one runs the risk of losing the tooth that is damaged or needing a root canal to stabilize it and eliminate the infection.
Gum tissue can recede for several reasons. Gums are the pink tissue that covers the bone and surrounds the root of the tooth to help protect your teeth. This tissue can begin to wear down and pull away from the tooth structure, causing recession. When this tissue recedes, it leaves the roots of your teeth exposed and makes them more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth infections.While gum tissue will not grow back once it has receded, treatments are available at the dentist that can reduce or eliminate sensitivity and reduce further recession.
Teeth bleaching products
Teeth whitening strips, bleaching gels, or having an in-office teeth-whitening procedure can put you at a higher risk of tooth sensitivity. Pain in your teeth that's caused by teeth bleaching is often temporary and will usually subside if you stop using whitening products. Bleaching toothpaste can also cause sensitivity in some people.
-If your teeth bleaching is being done by a professional, and you have had tooth sensitivity in the past, let the provider know so that they can offer you a desensitizing treatment to help reduce any after-treatment pain.
Clenching and grinding of jaws
Clenching and grinding one's teeth and jaws can lead to chronic tooth sensitivity, as it can lead to severe wear on the enamel and receding gums. It is not unusual for many people to occasionally clench or grind their teeth during times of high stress, focus, or due to poor sleep. When this habit becomes chronic, however, it can really impact people's daily lives and oral health.
-Oral appliances such as the custom fabricated occlusal guards (night guards) fabricated by dentists help protect teeth and gums from the impact of clenching and grinding. Ideally, these tools should be coupled with changes in lifestyle or stress-relieving activities to help treat the cause of the problem, not just the result.
Gum disease, which is also referred to as periodontal disease, impacts more than 47 percent of adults over the age of 30. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, it can impact people without them even knowing they have it. Sensitive teeth and bleeding gums can be a sign of escalating gum disease.
Periodontal disease can be treated by your dental professional and maintained through good oral home care. You knew it was coming…regular brushing and flossing are the keys to a healthy, happy mouth.