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The Most Common Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth pain is not fun. Pain in our mouth can be debilitating and can make it difficult to go about our daily lives. Although some causes of tooth pain are more serious than others, it is important to find out what is causing your discomfort so that you can get back to your normal life. As well, it is important to discover the cause, as most dental issues do not resolve on their own without proper care and treatment. In fact, many dental issues will only deteriorate over time.

The good news is that dental pain can happen for a variety of reasons and most are easily resolved when treated promptly and effectively. See here for a list of the most common causes of tooth pain and what should be done to resolve it.

1 – Tooth Decay

It is no surprise that the most common cause of tooth pain is tooth decay, or cavities (holes) in your teeth caused by decay. You can have a cavity and not feel pain, however, as the cavity worsens, pain will result. If you have pain in your mouth that is isolated to one tooth or area of your mouth, it is likely due to tooth decay. The best course of treatment is to schedule an appointment with your dentist office. Be sure to let them know you are seeking treatment for tooth pain or discomfort and that you suspect a cavity.

2 – Tooth Abscess

An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the root of an infected tooth and are caused by bacterial infections in the mouth. Abscesses can form alongside a tooth near the gum tissue or at the root of the tooth itself. Anyone, from children to the elderly, can get one. Abscesses can present with pain, swelling, and potentially fever. The pain can often be more keenly felt when chewing or applying pressure on the tooth. As well, an abscess can form a pimple-like bump on your gum. Beyond this, you may not have any additional symptoms. The best course of action is of course to get a diagnosis and treatment by our office. Depending on the severity of the abscess, we may refer you out to an endodontist for treatment.

3 – Sinus Congestion

Often when you have sinus congestion or a sinus infection, you can experience pain and sensitivity in your mouth, especially in your upper back teeth. This is because your nasal cavities are filled with pressure, which is all connected to these areas of the mouth. Any condition that causes sinus congestion can cause this type of pain in the mouth. If you suspect this is the cause of your tooth pain, give it a couple of days to subside while you treat your cold or sinus condition. If the pain does not resolve itself with your other symptoms, you may need to research it further to see what is the true cause. However, you may find that the pain is relieved as the pressure in your sinus cavities are relieved.

4 – Thinning Tooth Enamel

Sensitivity to hot or cold liquids, or to brushing, can often be a result of thinning tooth enamel. The enamel on your teeth is designed to shield the nerves of your teeth from the impact of eating, drinking, and brushing. However, when this layer is compromised, your teeth become quite sensitive to hot and cold foods as well as acidic, sweet, and sticky foods. To prevent tooth enamel damage, be sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush and brush gently. There are also enamel repair toothpaste options on the market that can help restore this layer.

5 – Receding Gums or Gum Disease

Gum disease or gum recession is another cause of mouth or tooth pain. This occurs when gum tissue rises up or pulls away from the tooth. The pain is due to the exposure of the tooth’s root, which is not protected by enamel as is the rest of the tooth. Gum disease and receding gums can be caused by a number of factors, including accumulation of bacteria along the gum line due to poor oral hygiene, mouth trauma, overly vigorous brushing, or even genetics. If you suspect this is the cause of your pain, you will most certainly want to discuss your concerns with our dental team at your next visit so we can help you come up with a treatment plan so that further damage does not occur.

6 – Heart Disease/Heart Attack

If tooth and/or jaw pain is not explainable, it is always important to ensure you seek out proper medical/dental treatment to ensure you are not experiencing symptoms of heart disease. Heart issues can present in the form of jaw pain and can be mistaken for tooth pain, yet it can represent a more critical and serious medical issue, such as a heart attack. If you experience any of these symptoms in addition to tooth and jaw pain, please call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately:

In most cases of mouth and tooth pain, it is best to schedule a visit with our office so we can, with the use of x-rays and other diagnostic equipment, effectively diagnose your issue and help prescribe the best treatment plan for optimal results. We are here to help you have the best and most comfortable smile possible!

Holman Family Dentistry is your family’s partner for long-term dental health and is here to help you and your family maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime.

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