Tooth pain is a common, troublesome, and sometimes mysterious oral health problem. Some people might feel pain that only comes and goes for a few seconds, while others can suffer pain that’s long and incapacitating. The pain of not knowing why you’re struggling so much can sometimes even hurt just as much as the tooth itself.
Not all toothaches are the same. The severity of pain you might be feeling can differ depending on the root cause. Here are the most common types of tooth pain to help you get rid of your toothache troubles.
This is a common type of tooth pain usually felt when the tooth experiences sudden and extreme changes in temperature. You might feel a slightly sharp pain when you dine on cold drinks and snacks, such as ice cream and milkshakes, or when you eat hot food like soup and spicy chili.
Sharp but short and minor pain is often a sign of worn down enamel. You can address this by avoiding certain food and using a sensitive tooth-friendly toothpaste for at least a week. The pain should go away after doing this for some time.
On the other hand, if the pain lasts for more than 30 seconds, it could be a sign of something more serious. You might be experiencing increased tooth sensitivity due to cavities, damaged tooth structure, exposed roots, tooth decay, and gum disease. If the pain you’re feeling is more intense and longer-lasting, do contact your dentist and have them treat whatever the cause is.
This is the most common type of tooth pain. If the dull pain you’re feeling isn’t anything too serious or debilitating, and if your gums are slightly swollen, it usually means that there’s some food stuck between your teeth or under your gums. Flossing will solve the problem right away.
Dull pain around the jaw muscles and lower teeth is a sign of excessive tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. Bruxism isn’t just a harmless habit as it can lead to chipped teeth and cavities. You can manage bruxism by wearing a mouthguard in your sleep or seeking less harmful methods of stress management.
If this kind of toothache frequently returns and lasts for long periods of time, it's usually a sign of an abscessed tooth—in other words, a tooth that has been severely infected down to the root. If you think you might have a dental abscess, contact your dentist right away.
Sharp and jabbing tooth pain is what you normally feel when your teeth are more sensitive than usual. This type of toothache can also be caused by chips, cracks, and other serious forms of damage to tooth structure. Unlike the first two types of tooth pain, sharp and jabbing pains don’t easily go away on their own. If you’re dealing with this type of toothache, you’ll need to trace the source and address it pronto.
Jabbing pain can be a sign of loose dental fillings and crowns. It can also indicate a dental abscess. In most cases, this type of tooth pain is usually felt when the tooth has been cracked and fractured, or if there is any decay or damage around the gum line. You might also feel sharp and jabbing pain if you’re suffering from an untreated cavity. Your dentist should be able to find out the root cause and relieve serious symptoms right away.
This kind of toothache accompanied by swollen gums or even a swollen face is a sign of a serious infection. Some other symptoms that can come with this kind of pain include bleeding and discolored gums, as well as difficulties with chewing. There’s no beating around the bush with this one, you’ll need to contact your dentist or an emergency medical professional right away.
Intense throbbing pain usually occurs when bacteria manages to infect the pulp inside teeth. After some time, this bacteria can spread to the bone and cause terrible complications like damage to the nerves and gum tissue. Infected teeth can often only be treated by root canals or extraction, depending on the severity of infection of course.
This type of tooth pain mainly occurs when you have an impacted wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth that have grown improperly often push and misalign teeth, as well as cause significant pain to the jaw. An impacted wisdom tooth can severely damage the jaw bone and gums, and in some cases even lead to painful cysts. You’ll need to have any impacted wisdom teeth extracted by your dentist as soon as possible.
There might be times when you’ll feel some mild pain while eating snacks and meals. This can be a sign of sensitive teeth, tooth decay, or a dental fracture. If you still feel some pain even while eliminating extremely hot and cold food from your diet, it could be a sign of something more serious than just sensitive teeth. Your dentist should be able to address the cause right away.
Your teeth won’t cause you any more problems as long as you keep them in a strong and healthy state. Here are some great ways to prevent troublesome toothaches:
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