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Causes of Tooth Pain

Dental problems can be one of the most frustrating health concerns we run into. There is often anxiety around oral health, resulting in people putting off going to the dentist for as long as possible. While this perception is slowly changing, there can still be moments of stress and fear when it comes to your teeth and gums.Woman scared of dentist

One of the biggest moments of anxiety around dental health is when you’re experiencing tooth pain with no obvious cause. A toothache can range from minor pain to a 10 on the pain scale and depending on how you feel and whether you’re experiencing any other symptoms, you may have to go see the dentist.

What Kinds of Toothaches Are There?

Toothaches can be caused by multiple factors and some of them may not even be related to your teeth or gums. That’s why it is important to be aware of your own health and dental health history to know what you may have going on. For example, if you still have your wisdom teeth, they could be contributing to your pain. However, if you’ve had them removed, pain in the back of your mouth could be something else altogether.

Here are seven causes for tooth pain that range in severity from minor to emergency:

  • Non-Dental Causes  – There’s a lot going on in your head and face area. Sometimes, health issues in other areas can impact your mouth or gums. If you have been experiencing sinus pain or blocked sinuses from a cold, you may experience tooth and gum pain on the side. 
  • Sensitive Teeth – Sensitive teeth is a general term for tooth pain caused by sensitivity to temperature, acidity or sugars. Typically, it is caused by drinks that are too hot or cold and can last for a while. Other people are sensitive to sugars or acid from food especially if they have recently had their teeth whitened. 
  • Gum Disease Gum disease is also known as gingivitis or periodontitis and is characterized as an infection around the gums. It is caused by the buildup of bacteria around the gums and if left untreated can lead to severe gum and tooth decay and bone loss. Typically, you might experience soreness early but should still consult with your dentist. 
  • Impacted TeethImpacted teeth are the technical term for when your teeth cannot settle into their normal location. This is most commonly experienced by those who have not yet had their wisdom teeth removed. Wisdom teeth can prevent the other teeth from settling into their normal location and the impact between teeth will cause moderate to severe pain.
  • Cracked ToothWhen teeth are weakened from age or decay, they are more susceptible to breaking or cracking. This damage can range from minor to severe and the pain that coincides with the damage can be minor or severe. In the best case, you might crack a small piece of your tooth which can be repaired. In the worst cases, the whole tooth can break down to the root which requires immediate treatment and is extremely painful.
  • Inflammation of the PulpThe pulp is the soft interior material of the tooth where the nerve resides. If this tissue becomes inflamed due to cavities or other damage, it can put pressure on the tooth and cause severe pain. Pulpitis must be treated by your dentist because it can be extremely painful and the pain will just grow over time. If this condition is left untreated it can require a root canal.
  • Tooth AbscessOne of the last stages of severe tooth damage is an abscess caused by infection due to severe decay. An abscess is a space in the tooth or root area that is full of pus from the infection and can be extremely painful. Without treatment, this abscess will try to drain itself which will cause severe swelling and pain. This is another situation where your dentist must intervene.

As you can see, there are a number of causes of tooth pain. Not all of them are something to worry about. However, if you are experiencing pain that doesn’t go away in 2 to 3 days or if the pain shoots up to unbearable levels, you need to contact your dentist.

Most importantly, many of the severe problems on this list can be avoided if you continue to get yourself checked out twice a year. The experienced dental professionals at Wooten Dentistry can help you with your tooth pain or any other condition that you may have.

If you haven’t seen your dentist in a while or need to get some discomfort or pain checked out, contact us today at our Clintonville office. We offer full-service dental care and can help you and your family with your dental needs.