Few things are more disruptive to your daily schedule than trying to enjoy your breakfast or lunch, only to experience a painful, throbbing tooth. While some toothaches are minor and will usually clear up with at-home care, others require dental treatment to control the pain and minimize the impact on your oral health.
Here are a few things that might be causing your tooth pain.
1. Nighttime Teeth Grinding
If you grind your teeth while you sleep, this can cause a dull pain that's commonly felt around your jaw. The pressure from your teeth grinding results in discomfort and soreness and can eventually damage your teeth's enamel, leading to cavities and damaged teeth. Treatment options for teeth grinding include medication, Botox injections, and nighttime use of an oral appliance that prevents you from grinding your teeth.
2. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay results in bacteria that wear away your tooth's enamel. This eventually exposes the nerves in your tooth, leading to pain and sensitivity. You'll likely feel pain when biting down, but if the decay progresses, you may feel chronic pain that doesn't subside. Options for treating tooth decay include fillings and crowns. In some cases, a root canal is needed to remove the infected nerve-rich pulp from the interior of your tooth before a crown or filling is placed.
Should you experience pain that's severe, your tooth may have an infection known as an abscess. This issue requires prompt treatment to help you keep your tooth and minimize the chance of infection spreading to other parts of your body.
3. Your Existing Dental Work is Damaged or Deteriorating
While most dental work, like crowns and cavities, are long-lasting, they do eventually need to be replaced. If your crown or filling is loose, cracked, or damaged, this can expose the sensitive pulp in the interior of your tooth, leading to pain and sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
If your dental work is past its prime, your dentist will help you explore your options for repairing your tooth.
4. Recent Dental Work
It's normal to experience tooth pain or tooth sensitivity after some dental procedures. For example, filling a cavity or performing a root canal can irritate the pulp inside your tooth, causing discomfort for a couple of weeks after your procedure. If the pain doesn't subside, consult your dentist for additional guidance. It's possible that your tooth just needs a few more days to heal, or you may need to consider additional treatment.