Why Do I Have Tooth Pain?


September is Pain Awareness Month…

Why Do I Have Tooth Pain?

There’s no doubt about it, nagging toothaches are a pain! But one of the best antidotes for pain is knowledge. In honor of Pain Awareness Month, The Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry team would like to educate patients about common types of tooth pain, how to prevent tooth pain, and when to seek help.

What Causes Toothaches?

Tooth pain occurs when the nerve in the root of the tooth becomes irritated, causing patients to experience a sharp, throbbing pain or a dull, persistent pain around the tooth. These are some of the major culprits that cause patients to experience tooth pain:

  • Neglecting to brush and floss properly. Poor dental hygiene can result in plaque buildup, tooth decay, gum disease and cavities. If not treated properly, these issues can cause your teeth to develop infection, resulting in tooth discomfort and pain.
  • Grinding of teeth. Over time, teeth grinding (officially known as bruxism), may cause severe tooth and jaw pain. Grinding puts additional pressure on the jaw and can contribute to a condition known as TMJ syndrome.
  • Cracking a tooth. Ouch! It happens to the best of us, but it can result in sharp pain as well as sensitivity to hot or cold food and liquids. Contact Dr. E immediately if you notice a cracked tooth.
  • Impacted teeth. When wisdom teeth get “stuck” under the gums, there is a build up of pressure and pain until an oral surgeon removes the impacted teeth.

How to Prevent Toothaches

Practicing good oral hygiene is the number one way to prevent toothaches. That means brushing and flossing daily to reduce and eliminate the formation of cavities and tooth decay. Here are some more ways patients can be proactive about preventing common types of tooth pain:

  • Drinking fluorinated water
  • Regularly replacing your toothbrush (approximately every 3 months)
  • Wearing a mouth guard during contact sports
  • Making healthy lifestyle choices (visiting the dentist regularly, avoiding sugary foods and drinks and refraining from harmful products like tobacco/smoking/vaping)

When Should I Seek Help For Tooth Pain?

When does tooth pain warrant a visit to the dentist? Follow these signs to know when it’s time to see a dentist for your toothache:

  • Pain is chronic (even if over-the-counter pain medication is taken)
  • Pain is accompanied by a high fever
  • Pain is present along with swelling of the face and/or gums (a sign of an abscess)
  • Pain is searing and extends into the jaw
  • Pain is severe (a sign of dry sockets)

During Pain Awareness Month this September (and beyond!), Dr. E encourages patients to practice good oral hygiene in order to prevent tooth pain. BUT, she and her team are always ready to help. If you are experiencing tooth pain, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today for relief and treatment! 480.494.2435

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