There’s nothing like a pain in your teeth to completely ruin your day. Once it starts up, it’s all you can think about: what is the problem, how much is this going to cost me, what do I do? There are several different kinds of pain with widely different possible causes, so it might be helpful to understand your symptoms better to identify the measures you’ll have to take.
A toothache is your standard deep pain that comes from deep in the root of your tooth (or teeth). It’s often felt as a throbbing pain, but can be less or more severe than that. Often, a toothache could be a result of you grinding your teeth at night. It’s important to get checked out by your dentist for other possible causes if the pain lasts more than a couple of weeks.
Consistent Sharp Pain
If you feel a sharp pain when you bite down on food, pay attention to this area. If the pain is concentrated to one area, and the pain persists when pressure is put on the tooth for over a week, you most likely have a cavity forming and will need to get it filled quickly.
Occasional Sharp Pain
Occasionally, you may feel the same sharp pain when you bite down but not see any particular pattern. If this is happening infrequently and in a variety of spots, it probably isn’t anything to worry about. Try to refrain from chewing on anything too hard if it continues to bother you.
Gums that are swollen and tender to the touch can come about from non-dental influences, such as pregnancy. But most often, it’s a sign of an oncoming gum or periodontal disease. Try to floss more often than normal, but if you don’t see any improvement you’ll need to see your dentist for an official diagnosis and treatment.
Pain on a Tooth’s Surface
A tooth’s surface refers to the front, back, and sides of the tooth. If you notice that an individual spot on the surface of your tooth is increasingly sensitive to heat, cold, or sugar, you may have a cavity forming. These types of cavities will require a more-expensive white filling to look more aesthetically pleasing, so be sure to brush these areas well to avoid the problem. Pay attention to any pain or sensitivity that comes from air blowing between your teeth, as you may have a cavity forming on the narrow sides.
Pain in Upper Teeth
If you are experiencing a throbbing pain in your top few teeth but none others, it may not be a dental problem. Often people who suffer from a temporary sinus infection will feel the pressure all throughout the area, including at the roots of their front teeth. Your dentist can recommend some decongestants if this seems to be the problem.
An overall ache in your jaw most often indicates a tendency to clench or grind, which could require a mouth guard to protect your teeth. However, in some cases jaw pain can actually point to an increased risk for an oncoming heart attack. If the pain increases gradually, and you have any suspicions that this may be the case, seek a doctor immediately.
This guide will help you pinpoint any preliminary questions or concerns you may have about your symptoms, but it’s by no means meant to serve as a stand-alone resource. The advice and treatment of your dentist is the only foolproof way to rid yourself of any tooth discomfort, so don’t be scared to pencil in a visit.
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long-distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. For more information on cutting-edge pain-relief devices, visit Totale Medical at their website.