Toothache is one of the most common dental problems and that sometime-emergency experienced by most individuals at some point in their life.
There are numerous causes of dental pain, most of which can be easily managed. Dental pain can range from mild discomfort to stronger pain, and can be characterised by a constant or intermittent throbbing sensation. Dental pain is sometimes coupled with earache, headaches and swelling of the jaw and face. During this period, it is also common to experience sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods. There are numerous methods to relieve dental pain, including both medicated and non-medicated options. To manage the pain, it is recommended to get a proper diagnosis from a dentist in San Rafael to make sure the treatment is appropriate for the problem.
Possible Causes Behind Dental Pain
If you’ve ever experienced dental pain, you know that “tooth ache” is a major understatement. Understanding the basics of tooth pain will help you know when to take action to prevent an all-out episode of severe discomfort.
Nerve fibers connected to your teeth are different than those in the rest of your body. Although they can send pain signals to your brain, they do not transmit specific location signals like nerves in other parts of the body. If damage exists in a back left molar, your brain may tell you that your entire jaw hurts.
Many different nerve fibers exist, and each produces a different pain sensation. This makes it difficult and confusing to specify the cause of dental pain. Once it starts, oral pain can affect a single tooth or the entire jawbone, muscles, jaw joints, face, head, and neck…even transmitting from one area to another, creating secondary pain.
Tooth pain or temperature sensitivity can be symptoms of an oral health problem. Your dentist will try to find out what’s causing your toothache so they can help treat both the root of the problem and the symptoms.
Some common dental problems that can cause toothache or tooth sensitivity include:
- tooth decay
- cracked teeth
- mouth ulcers
- worn teeth
- loose or damaged fillings
- loose or damaged braces
- impacted wisdom teeth
- receding gums
- gum disease.
To diagnose your problem correctly understanding the type of pain you have had from the tooth is very important. Your dental pain specialist in San Rafael will ask you questions such as:
- is the tooth sensitive to cold, hot or sweet things?
- is it tender to chew on?
- do you get pain spontaneously?
- When you get pain how long does it last for?
- Have you taken any medications for the sore tooth? If so what have you taken and has it helped?
- How long have you been experiencing these symptoms?
- Did anything occur that prompted the symptoms?
It is very important that you can answer these questions to ensure the problem is correctly diagnosed. Your dentist will also examine the mouth and may recommend an x-ray to assess the problem.
Once your dentist has established the cause of the pain they will discuss with you your treatment options. This may be anything from no treatment, to a filling, root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth.
Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I’m Sick?
As if you don’t have enough to worry about when you’re sick, but certain symptoms of other health problems can cause toothaches (or worsen an existing toothache). Inflamed sinuses can be a side effect of flus, colds or sinus infections — this inflammation may put pressure on the roots of your upper teeth, possibly causing sensitivity or an aching feeling in your teeth.
If you’re unwell, you should see a doctor and be sure to mention any dental discomfort. But if you’re feeling better and the dental discomfort hasn’t gone away, or the discomfort has lasted longer than 2 days, you should consider seeing a dentist too as sometimes a dental problem may be present but not painful until the body becomes run down due to another illness.
Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw can potentially cause dental pain. Teeth grinding and clenching can themselves be symptoms of a deeper problem, but they risk damaging your teeth or causing dental pain regardless of any underlying causes.
To help protect your teeth and lower your risk of a toothache, try to find ways to avoid or manage teeth grinding. But we know that’s sometimes easier said than done! A dentist or doctor may be able to help or offer advice. For instance, if you grind your teeth while you’re asleep, your dentist may suggest a custom-fitted night guard to wear over your teeth at night to help prevent damage to your teeth.
Discomfort Caused By Dental Treatments
Having certain kinds of dental treatments or even just a professional teeth cleaning can sometimes cause temporary discomfort. If you feel dental pain after a root canal, filling or crown, this should go away within a few hours or a couple of days. You may be able to manage it with pain relief medication or self-care. Toothaches after getting braces should also be temporary as your mouth adjusts to the feel of braces and gradual movement of your teeth.
If a toothache lasts longer than a few days or if you notice other side effects, consider contacting a dentist to make an urgent appointment.
More Than Just A Toothache
Sometimes, tooth pain may only be one symptom of many. If your toothache is accompanied by jaw pain when yawning, ear pain or neck stiffness, you could have a joint disorder such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD). Dentists can help diagnose jaw joint problems or refer you to a qualified health professional if the problem is related to another joint.
What Is Deemed A Dental Emergency?
If you have signs and symptoms of an acute infection such as:
- facial swelling
- trouble breathing
- trouble swallowing
- swelling around your eyes
- suffered trauma and are bleeding from a broken or missing tooth
This requires urgent professional attention.
How To Help Deal With Sensitive, Sore Or Aching Teeth?
If your teeth are feeling tender because of recent dental work or an orthodontic treatment, your dentist in San Rafael will usually give you advice during your appointment. They might give you an idea of how long you can expect discomfort to last or recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever (remember to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication).
Bad toothaches are a good reason to see a dentist, but there are a few tips you can try if you’re waiting for your dental appointment.
- Clean the mouth– rinse the mouth with a saline solution. Gently floss the teeth to get rid of any food particles that are stuck between the teeth.
- Use a cold compress.Put an ice pack or compress against the outside of your cheek (be sure to wrap it in a cloth to protect your skin). This can help numb any discomfort, but it might only be an option if you’re not experiencing lots of sensitivity to extreme temperatures.
- Stick to soft or liquid foods. Many types of dental pain can get worse when you put pressure on the offending tooth, so try eating soups, smoothies or soft foods like scrambled eggs.
- Consider pain relief medication. While keeping in mind any recommendations from your doctor or pharmacist, you could try over-the-counter pain relief medication (but be aware that aspirin tends not to be recommended as it may increase bleeding risk during dental treatment).
- See a dentist immediately – if these remedies didn’t work and the pain still lingers, call dentist in San Rafael as soon as possible. If left untreated, the simple toothache could lead to a more serious problem.
What Can I Do To Prevent Tooth Pain Happening?
To reduce the recurrence of toothaches, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make:
- If you’ve identified certain foods/drinks as a trigger, limit regular consumption of these
- Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste after breakfast and before going to bed
- Keep the areas between your teeth clean and plaque-free with floss and/or dental picks
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis to manage your dental health.