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5 Causes of Tooth Pain and How to Tell Which is Affecting You

If you’ve ever experienced any kind of tooth pain, then you know just how sensitive the nerves tucked inside them can be. Tooth pain can indicate a number of different dental problems, and the type and severity of pain that you are experiencing may be able to help you determine what kind of dental work you have to look forward to. Here are five of the most common causes of tooth pain.

Tooth Decay/Cavities

The vast majority of adults in the US have gotten a filling at some point in their lives, so you probably already know what the pain that signals a cavity feels like. A mild to moderate ache, the exact location of which is sometimes difficult to pinpoint, is a telling sign of tooth decay that can or already has led to a cavity.

Exposed Root

When your gums have receded from the base of a tooth to expose the tender root beneath, it could be a sign of early gum disease. Exposed roots don’t usually hurt until they are touched – then a sharp pain shooting down the tooth and permeating the gums for a moment or two will remind you that there is a root exposed. Sensitivity to heat and cold can also signal an exposed root.

Abscessed Tooth

When tooth decay is left untreated for too long, the living tissue, or pulp, inside the tooth can become infected. The infection can spread all the way to the bone beneath the tooth, causing an abscess. If you are experiencing constant, severe pain deep within a tooth or even in your bone, you probably have an abscessed tooth which can only be corrected with a root canal.

Cracked or Injured Tooth

You might assume that if you have injured a tooth you would know about it, but that isn’t always the case. A pain that is similar to that caused by a cavity, but sharper when biting down, may be letting you know that a tooth is cracked. This type of pain can also be caused by a loose filling.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is more prevalent than you might think. In fact, it is estimated that nearly half of Americans have periodontal disease. In its early stages, mild tooth pain may be the only symptom you notice; at its worst, gum disease often goes hand in hand with many of the above problems and pains. Tender, inflamed gums only exacerbate the issue, and the only treatment for advanced periodontal disease is aggressive therapy and surgery.

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