Tooth Pain

There can be many causes for a tooth pain, including dental decay, an injury or infection. If you have tooth pain, read below to find your symptoms, possible causes and treatment options.

Symptom: Momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods.

Possible problem: If this discomfort lasts only moments, sensitivity to hot and cold foods generally does not signal a serious problem. The sensitivity may be caused by a small decay, a loose filling or by minimal gum recession that exposes small areas of the root surface.

What to do: Try using toothpastes made for sensitive teeth. Brush up and down with a soft brush; brushing sideways wears away exposed root surfaces. If this is unsuccessful after several days, see your dentist.

Symptom: Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment.

Possible problem: Dental work may inflame the pulp inside the tooth causing temporary sensitivity.

What to do: Wait two to four weeks. If the pain persists or worsens, see your dentist.

 Symptom: Sharp pain when biting down on food.

Possible problem: There are several possible causes of this type of pain: decay, a loose filling or crack in the tooth. There may also be damage to the pulp tissue inside the tooth.

What to do: See a dentist for evaluation. If the problem is pulp tissue damage, your dentist may send you to an Endodontist.  Endodontists are dentists who specialize in pulp-related procedures. Your Endodontist will perform a procedure that cleans out the damaged pulp and fills and seals the remaining space. This procedure is commonly called a root canal.

Symptom: Lingering pain, typically lasting more than 30 seconds, after eating hot or cold foods.

Possible problem: This probably means the pulp has been irreversibly damaged by deep decay or physical trauma

What to do: See your dentist to save the tooth with a root canal treatment.

 Symptom: Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum and sensitivity to touch.

Possible problem: A tooth may have become abscessed, causing an infection in the surrounding tissue and bone. This could be related to gum disease.

What to do: See your dentist for evaluation and treatment to relieve the pain and save the tooth. You maybe referred to a Periodontist or Endodontist for further evaluation.

Symptom: Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw.

Possible problem: Grinding of teeth, a condition known as bruxism, can cause this type of ache. The pain of a sinus headache may also be felt in the face and teeth.

What to do: For bruxism, consult your dentist. For sinus headache, try over-the-counter medications. If pain is severe and chronic, see your dentist or physician for evaluation.

The above article was copied from the American Association of Endodontists website.

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