Tooth pain and sensitivity can be unbearable! You may be unable to eat or even sleep. If you are experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, visiting your dentist is the quickest and most effective way to determine the cause of the tooth pain and to effectively treat it.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
There are many different factors that cause sensitivity in teeth:
- Receding gums (leaving sensitive roots exposed)
- Grinding (bruxism) of the teeth.
- Decay or abscess.
- Cracked, chipped or broken tooth.
- Gum disease due to insufficient dental hygiene.
Types of sensitivity:
- Sensitivity to chewing/pressure: Usually caused by a damaged or cracked tooth, or through any wear of the tooth’s enamel.
- Sensitivity to sweets/acidic foods: Usually caused by decay in any stage, but also by receding gumline.
- Sensitivity to cold/heat: Usually caused by decay/abscess, worn enamel or receding gumline.
- Post-whitening sensitivity: This can occur after an in-office bleaching treatment, but usually subsides in a few days after the procedure.
- Post-procedural sensitivity: Many dental procedures (like fillings or mercury removal) can create temporary sensitivity. If this sensitivity persists or becomes worse, you should contact your dentist.
Sensitivity can transform into a toothache if it’s left untreated, but toothaches can develop for other reasons.
In most cases, toothaches are caused by tooth and/or jaw problems like cavities, abscessed teeth, root canals or TMJ problems. Also, pain felt in the teeth can sometimes be unrelated to the teeth themselves (earaches, sinus infections or even heart disease can produce radiating pain in the teeth or jaw).
It is important to know that tooth pain won’t just “go away”, even if it feels better for days or weeks at a time. If you are suffering with a toothache, schedule an appointment for a dental examination at the first sign of pain. The examination will determine from where your pain originates, the severity of the issue, and will start you on the best course of treatment to alleviate the pain and create a healthier, happier smile for you!