Tooth pain is usually caused by problems of the teeth or jaws. Tooth pain affects your eating, biting, and chewing of food. Two categories of tooth pain: sharp pain and dull, throbbing pain. Pain can be short-lived, prolonged, mild, or severe. Causes of tooth pain may be dental and non-dental related. Treatment depends on the cause of the pain you are having. The treatments for tooth pain may be as simple as improving your oral hygiene routine, or as involved as getting a root canal treatment.
Tooth pain often means something is not right in the mouth or somewhere in the body. If the tooth pain lasts more than a day, consult with your dentist for a diagnosis and get the treatment as soon as possible.
Types of Tooth Pain
- Shooting pain when you have hot or cold drinks or eat sweet or sour foods.
- Pressure from tooth brushing or biting.
- A cavity, a cracked tooth or an exposed tooth root may cause sharp tooth pain.
- Dull, throbbing pain:
- Involves an area in or around the mouth and jaw with a steady ache that goes on for days.
- Dull pain may be an indication of infection.
Dental Causes of Tooth Pain
- Tooth damage
- Chipped, cracked or broken teeth
- Broken filling, ill-fitting crown
- **Treatment: fillings, crowns**
- Tooth decay
- Cavities-destruction of the tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of the tooth.
- Abscess-an infection of the nerve and pulp inside the tooth
- **Treatment: fillings, root canal treatment, or extraction**
- Gum Disease
- Plaque buildup causes red and swollen gums.
- Gum recessions-gum tissues pull away from the teeth.
- Bone loss-form pockets and collect food debris and bacteria.
- **Treatment: scaling and root planing, referral to the periodontist evaluation and treatment.**
- Impacted or misaligned wisdom teeth
- Wisdom teeth that don’t have enough room to erupt correctly may cause pain in the gums or jaw.
- Wisdom teeth that come in at an angle to other teeth can promote tooth decay and cause tooth pain.
- **Treatment: extraction, referral to oral surgeon.**
- Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
- Chronic teeth grinding or clenching add stress on the muscles of the jaw which can cause tooth pain
- **Treatment: a dental splint, warm compresses applied to the jaw, eating soft foods, and reduce stress**
Non-Dental causes of Tooth Pain
- Sinus pain infections can cause tooth pain. The pressure of fluid-filled sinuses creates pain in the upper back molars of the mouth.
- Talk to your doctor for advice about decongestants or other medications to manage tooth pain that is associated with sinus pain.
- Heart Attack - pain from a heart attack can radiate into the lower jaw.
- Viral infection - shingle is a viral infection that can cause tooth pain.
- Nerve disease - trigeminal neuralgia is associated with a sharp pain on one side of the face and it feels like tooth pain.
- Vitamin deficiency - vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with tooth pain.
- **Consult with your physician when tooth pain is non-dental related.
- Treatment depends on the cause of the pain you are having.
- Sharp pain might be caused by a dental cavity, chipped, or broken tooth. The treatment may be a new dental filling or a crown.
- Dull, throbbing pain may be involved with an infection. The tooth may need a root canal treatment.
If the tooth pain lasts more than a day, consult with your dentist for a diagnosis and get the treatment as soon as possible. The best way to prevent tooth pain is to maintain good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly.
Dr. Anna Lee is a general & cosmetic dentist in Glendora, CA. She is experienced in all phases of dentistry. She treats patients of all ages. Tooth pain often means something is not right in the mouth or somewhere in the body. Please call our office at 626-335-5114 to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup. Visit us at www.annaleedds.com.