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  • Writer's pictureLaurenWallace

Tooth Pain

Tooth Pain Causes

Tooth pain, is usually caused by problems with the teeth or jaws. The degree of tooth pain can range from mildly annoying to excruciatingly painful. The treatments for tooth pain may be as simple as improving your oral health care routine, or as complicated as oral surgery. The dental causes of tooth pain fall into several categories:

Dental Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth Damage: Damage to the tooth is a common cause of tooth pain. For example, teeth that are chipped or broken due to trauma can cause tooth pain. Similarly, a broken or damaged filling, crown, or dental implant can contribute to tooth pain.Tooth Decay: Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth pain, and it has several degrees of severity. Cavities are holes in the teeth that penetrate the tooth enamel and underlying dentin and which can lead to tooth pain. Abscess, which is an infection of the nerve and pulp inside the tooth, is a more severe form of tooth pain.Gum Disease: The symptoms of gum disease (periodontal disease) include redness and swelling of the gums, but these symptoms can contribute to tooth pain, as well as gum pain. Dental pain from gingivitis may occur when plaque buildup causes the gums to become red and swollen. Periodontitis can occur when gingivitis is left untreated, and the inner layer of the gums pulls away from the teeth, forming pockets that collect food debris and bacteria.

Non-Dental Causes of Tooth Pain Some causes of tooth pain are not directly related to your teeth. If you rule out more obvious sources of tooth pain, your pain could be associated with any of the following conditions:

Sinus Pain Infection: Sinus infections can cause pain in teeth when the pressure of fluid-filled sinuses creates pain in the upper back corners of your mouth. If you regularly suffer from sinus infections, you may notice pain in teeth located near the sinus cavities. To manage pain in teeth associated with sinus pain, ask your doctor for advice about decongestants or other medications to relieve sinus pressure.Cluster Headache: The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but pressure from a cluster headache has been associated with tooth pain.Heart Attack: Pain from a heart attack can radiate into the lower jaw.Diabetes: If you have diabetes, uncontrolled blood sugar can increase your risk for tooth decay.Viral Infections: Shingles is an example of a viral infection that can cause tooth pain.Nerve Diseases: A condition called trigeminal neuralgia is associated with a sharp pain on one side of the face.Drug Abuse: Methamphetamine abuse has been associated with tooth pain.Vitamin Deficiency: Inadequate vitamin B12 has been associated with tooth pain.

Jaw Pain If you are experiencing dental pain more so in the jaw, mouth or gums, your pain may be caused by any of the following:

Temporomandibular Disorders: Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) cause pain in the jaw. The causes of TMD include chronic teeth grinding or clenching, and dislocation of the temporomandibular joint.Mouth Cancer: Mouth cancer can cause numbness or pain in any part of the face, neck, or mouth. Other symptoms of mouth cancer include swelling, bumps, and eroded patches anywhere inside the mouth, bleeding anywhere in the mouth, and sores on the face or neck, or in the mouth that don’t heal in a week or two.Malocclusion: Malocclusion is the technical term for crooked teeth or an uneven bite. Severe malocclusion can cause pain in the jaw and in the muscles of the face, but most cases can be managed with braces and other orthodontic techniques.Impacted Wisdom Teeth: If wisdom teeth don’t have room to emerge correctly, they can become impacted, which causes dental pain in the gums and jaw. The pain from impacted or misaligned wisdom teeth in the upper back corners of the mouth can be similar to the pain in teeth from sinus pain. Sometimes wisdom teeth erupt through the gum line and cause no problems, but often they cause pain and need to be removed. Wisdom teeth that come in at an angle to other teeth can promote tooth decay, as well as pain in teeth. Wisdom teeth that only partly erupt from the gum line raise the risk of infection. Be sure to see a dentist to have wisdom teeth evaluated.

Tooth Pain Symptoms

Practicing good oral hygiene can prevent many types of dental pain. But when oral health problems occur, knowing some of the causes and categories of dental pain can help you talk to your dentist about treatment options, as well as strategies for preventing future dental pain. Signs of dental pain include throbbing, sharp, or aching sensations in the teeth that can be either chronic or transient. Some types of dental pain occur only while chewing. Other symptoms associated with dental pain include red or swollen gums, headaches, or drainage from an infection in the teeth or gums.

How to Get Rid of Tooth Pain

Is your dental pain bad enough to see a dentist? See a dentist if your dental pain is severe, if it lasts for more than a day or two, or if it is associated with a fever, ear pain, or pain when you open and close your mouth. A dentist may be able to diagnose the cause of your tooth pain based on a dental examination, or x-rays may be needed to identify the exact nature and location of your tooth pain. 

Broken Tooth or Cavity: If you have a broken tooth or a cavity, a dentist can fix the problem with a crown or filling. Gum Disease: Tooth pain due to gum disease may require a technique called “scaling and planing,” in which a dental professional numbs your gums so he or she can use a special tool to remove plaque buildup from above and below the gum line.Severe Gum Disease: If you have severe gum disease, a root canal may be needed to remove the decayed tissue within the tooth. 

Tooth Pain Relief and Home Remedies

After any type of treatment for tooth pain, be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations for oral care products and a regular oral care routine, and schedule regular dental visits to maintain a healthy mouth. Even if your pain is mild, don’t hesitate to ask a dentist for advice. Regular dental visits can prevent minor dental pain problems from becoming serious. In addition, your dentist may recommend oral care products for sensitive teeth to manage minor dental pain at home.  Sources:



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