When your tooth hurts, you probably aren’t paying attention to the kind of hurt it’s causing. You just know you know you want it to stop.
Did you know, however, that paying attention to the type of tooth pain you’re experiencing can help you narrow down the type of treatment you need?
Stonegate Family Dentistry in Murfreesboro, TN is devoted to helping our patients have beautiful, healthy smiles--and no toothaches.
Here’s what your toothache may be telling you:
Most of our patients describe their toothaches as dull, persistent aches that occur when biting, chewing, or talking. Many describe the pain as extending into the jaw muscle.
Sometimes, the pain is caused by tooth grinding, especially at night. It may also be caused by bits of food stuck between the teeth or under the gumline.
If the ache is particularly severe, it could be due to periodontitis, a serious infection of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar below the gumline. Left untreated, periodontitis can lead to red, bleeding gums, severe dental pain, abscesses, and damage to the jaw bone. Eventually, it can cause tooth loss.
If you’ve experienced a chronic persistent ache in your tooth, it’s important to visit a dentist immediately. A dental examination and x-rays can uncover the source of the pain and help your dentist prescribe the right treatment.
Most patients who describe a toothache as a sharp, stabbing pain are experiencing pain in the tooth’s nerves.
The nerves of a tooth are housed within the dentin, the area of the tooth beneath the enamel (outermost layer), and the cementum. When the protective layer above the dentin breaks down, the nerves in the tooth can become easily activated through biting, chewing, or exposure to certain temperatures. As a result, many people will experience sharp pains when chewing or eating something hot or cold.
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by tooth decay, tooth enamel erosion, gum disease, or chronic grinding or clenching of the jaw.
When a tooth is decayed, bacteria from the mouth can penetrate the dentin and cause an infection in the tooth’s root. In these cases, a root canal procedure is necessary to remove the infection and seal the tooth off from further bacteria.
Sharp, stabbing pain in the tooth that persists longer than a couple of weeks should never be ignored. Visit your dentist immediately if you notice sharp pains that occur regularly over a long period of time.
Patients who experience constant throbbing near the temporomandibular joint are usually extremely uncomfortable. The pain often radiates into the neck and ear and impacts the patient’s ability to eat, talk and sleep. The pain in the jaw may be accompanied by a fever, pus in the gums, bad breath, and a bad taste in the mouth.
Typically, these are symptoms of a tooth abscess, an extremely serious infection.
An untreated abscess can cause further illness and cause severe damage to the structures surrounding the tooth. Patients with abscesses often require tooth extraction to eliminate the infection.
If you suspect you have a tooth abscess, you may need emergency dental care.
Depending on the cause of your tooth pain, you may have several treatment options.
Over-the-counter pain medications like NSAIDs and acetaminophen can help reduce inflammation. Ice and home remedies like salt gargling can help reduce swelling and discomfort but are recommended only as a short-term solution while you wait for an appointment with your dentist.
Stonegate Family Dentistry in Murfreesboro, TN specializes in diagnosing and treating tooth pain. Our dental team can examine, take x-rays, and provide expert guidance on relieving your tooth pain and getting your teeth back to a healthy state.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
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