Health

Why Do My Teeth Hurt

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Dental pain is one of the most uncomfortable experiences. It can range from mild and dull to severe and prevent you from being able to chew or get through your day. From sharp to dull aches and pains, identifying what’s causing your toothaches can help you treat them properly. Of course, seeing a dentist is the best way to figure out what’s causing your tooth pain. After your dentist diagnoses the cause of your pain, they can devise a treatment plan to reduce the discomfort and help your mouth heal, helping to reduce the risk of a more serious tooth problem such as a dying nerve. Here are a few causes of toothaches.

Sensitivity

Many people have tooth sensitivity that arises when they bite into ice cream or drink cold water. Unfortunately, sensitive teeth are common, but it may also be a sign that you’re suffering from tooth decay or a dental infection. Teeth become sensitive when the layer underneath the enamel is exposed because the enamel protects the teeth. Unfortunately, enamel can erode over time due to acids from food, plaque bacteria, aggressive brushing, and even tooth grinding. 

Once your enamel is worn down, it’s gone for good since the body doesn’t continue to make this protective layer. Therefore, if you’re experiencing new sensitivity, you should take care of it immediately. You can begin using toothpaste designed for sensitivity or search for oral health products that contain fluoride, which can strengthen your existing enamel. If your sensitivity doesn’t go away after two weeks of using these types of products, it may indicate that you’re starting to experience tooth decay. 

To be on the safe side, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you begin experiencing sensitivity. If you have severe sensitivity which prevents you from drinking cold water or eating cold foods, see your dentist immediately because it could be a more serious issue. Depending on the cause of your sensitivity, your dentist may treat your pain with fluoride treatments or gum grafts for more serious dental problems. 

If you have a cavity, your dentist will remove the tooth decay and fill it. However, if the cavity is severe, you may have to undergo a root canal or risk tooth loss. 

Dull Pain

Pain that’s dull but constant may occur when you have something stuck in between your teeth because of the pressure. If you have dull and persistent tooth pain, you may simply need to floss to remove the debris, providing complete relief. Floss all your teeth just in case you can’t pinpoint where the pain is coming from since it can affect one or more teeth. If you still experience pain, consider swishing water or rinsing your mouth to dislodge anything that might be stuck between your teeth that you can’t see. If this doesn’t work, you may have something more serious going on than something lodged between your teeth.

Dull toothaches can indicate an abscess, requiring a root canal to remove the infection. Talk to your dentist immediately if you experience dull tooth pain for more than a few days and have tried brushing and flossing. 

Jabbing

Some toothaches are not constant. Instead, you might randomly feel a jabbing pain throughout the day. These types of toothaches cannot be treated at home, so it’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible. In addition, jabbing can occur when a crown or filling gets loose, which means you’ll need restoration. 

An inconsistent jabbing pain can also indicate a cracked, fractured, or completely decayed tooth that will need immediate attention to prevent an infection. 

Throbbing

If you experience throbbing, it could indicate a serious infection in your gums, bone, or dental pulp. Throbbing toothaches typically come with swelling of the surrounding gum. However, your face can also become swollen if the infection is severe enough. Infections also cause bleeding or discoloration of the gums.

Treatment for throbbing pain will depend on the cause. For example, if you have an infection of the dental pulp, you’ll need a root canal to remove the infection. Additionally, if you have an infection due to periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, you’ll need to have a deep cleaning and root planing, along with following your dentist’s strict instructions for how to prevent pain and stop it from getting worse. Gum disease can make you sick because it may allow bacteria from plaque to enter your bloodstream, so if you believe you could have dental disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist for immediate treatment. 

Treatment should be sought out immediately, as a serious infection can make you very ill and can cause severe damage as it spreads throughout the mouth.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth cause pain in the back of the jaw when they erupt through the surface. Since wisdom teeth take some time to grow in, you can experience almost constant pain as they’re growing through the gums. If your wisdom teeth aren’t growing properly, they can cause jaw pain that prevents you from being able to chew. The only treatment for wisdom tooth pain is to remove the problem with surgery to prevent painful overcrowding and infections.

Jaw Pain

Grinding or clenching can cause a sore jaw and teeth because you’re wearing down your teeth, leading to potential tooth breakage and infections. In addition, if you grind your teeth, you may have to wear a mouthguard to stop the teeth from rubbing against each other and removing enamel while preventing infection. 

Injury

An injury to your mouth can cause a toothache, especially if your gums are affected. Injuries to the mouth can happen at any time because they’re usually caused by accidents. If your mouth is injured, you may experience tooth bruising or discoloration, a broken tooth, or even tooth loss. If any of this pain becomes serious you may want to skip the dentist and go straight to the hospital to visit a doctor. All nurses and doctors are trained to help with any injury that comes their way.

When to See a Dentist

You should see a dentist if you have tooth pain that won’t go away even though you’re brushing and flossing at least twice a day. While some tooth pain will go away on its own with proper oral care, other causes of tooth pain will require dentist intervention to remove infected teeth, prevent further decay, and treat infections. Oftentimes, dentists have the right tools to treat your toothaches and keep your smile fresh and healthy. Your dentist may also recommend other treatments that will deal with other dental issues. For instance, your dentist may recommend getting dental implants or invisalign braces to correct the alignment of your teeth. You may visit a dental clinic for oral care procedures like teeth whitening, dental implants, etc.

Julia Olivas
Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a freelance writer who loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, painting, and her pup Ruby. 

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