Our body has a way of communicating with our mind when something is “off”; usually, it’s through pain or discomfort. Sore muscles, sinus pressure, and headaches are all ways that our body communicates that it needs rest, water, or anything else. Your teeth and gums are no different! When patients call our Denver dental practice complaining of tooth pain, it’s an indication that something is not as it should be. To discover the source of the pain, and to treat the underlying issue, our doctors use information such as the patient’s description of the pain, as well as X-ray images and a physical examination. So, what could your tooth pain be telling you? Read on to find out.
The Crown is Chipped, Cracked, or Broken
When trauma occurs to the natural crown of a tooth, enamel can unexpectedly crack, break, or chip. Usually, this happens when you bite down on a hard object or are involved in an accident like a sports injury. You may feel the resulting chip or break, but a crack may go unnoticed until it starts presenting painful symptoms. This type of pain can be worse when biting or chewing, and you may experience increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
Decay has Destroyed Healthy Enamel
A large cavity can have the same effects on your tooth as a break or crack. Harmful oral bacteria can erode away enamel leaving microscopic holes in the surface of teeth. But when the hole of decay becomes large enough, it can expose the inner tooth to pressure and temperature fluctuations which leave your nerve endings unprotected.
The Pulp is Inflamed or Infected
After the outer enamel shell of a tooth is broken from decay or trauma, the soft tissues found in the inner tooth may be exposed to oral bacteria that make their way inside, creating an infection in the small inner space of the tooth. This infection can grow and create pressure in and around the tooth. Throbbing pain or pain that radiates outward could be a sign of an infected tooth. Additionally, if the infection spreads outside of the tooth root, a pocket of pus can form which may be very painful to the touch. This is called an abscess, and an abscessed tooth may display an inflamed or swollen area in the gums near the painful tooth.
Nighttime Grinding is Putting Pressure on Your Teeth
Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching, is most often a nighttime habit. Though it can occur for a number of reasons, most often, patients who are stressed and anxious may experience bruxism symptoms as their quality of sleep suffers. A night full of teeth grinding can mean waking up to sore, sensitive teeth, and a tender or sore jaw.
Enamel Erosion is Leaving Your Tooth Vulnerable
The outer layers of tooth enamel protect the softer tooth tissues found beneath it. When enamel erodes away from abrasive brushing techniques, bruxism, certain medications, or a highly acidic diet, tooth enamel is less able to protect the softer tooth tissues from temperature fluctuations and biting or chewing pressure. Increased sensitivity occurs which can lead to discomfort while eating and drinking throughout the day.
Learn the Cause of Your Tooth Pain
If you are experiencing regular tooth pain or sensitivity and want to find a solution, contact our Denver dental practice. We can determine the source of your pain and offer restorative dentistry treatment that will help you eliminate uncomfortable symptoms and get back to pain-free living. Call us today to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.