Ever experience a toothache? Few things in life are as disruptive and painful. Unfortunately, having pain in your teeth and gums is an everyday occurrence for many adults.
According to a survey by the American Family Physician, 22% of adults experience oral related pain every day.
While dental pain may be a fact of life, it doesn’t have to be chronic, and it doesn’t have to be your way of life.
So, when should you consider dental related pain to be a bothersome nuisance, and when is it something you should worry about?
It really depends on what started your toothache. Many tooth pain issues go away quickly, while others are symptoms related to a more serious dental issue. Either way, whether you recently notice tooth or gum discomfort that comes and goes, or you’re having lingering pain, please contact us. A quick and thorough exam can save you some peace of mind, and even some money, especially if we can help prevent you from needing a more serious dental treatment.
1. Worn Tooth Enamel – When your tooth enamel wears down, it can make your teeth sensitive to foods or drinks that are too hot or cold. Tooth sensitivity may cause sudden, sharp flashes of pain, which may dictate your daily diet, as you start avoiding those foods that cause the pain. Worn enamel also increases your risk of getting cavities. Why? Healthy tooth enamel protects your teeth, much like armor, from the cavity causing bacteria in your mouth. When your enamel thins down, these acids from the bacteria can now get past the “armor” and cause damage to “roots” of your teeth. If your tooth pain is related to damaged enamel, we can offer treatments to help, from fluoride treatments to covering a tooth, with significant enamel loss, with a porcelain crown, or with dental veneers.
2. Cavities – When the bacteria causing acids are allowed to party overtime in your mouth, they’ll start to wear little holes in your teeth – cavities. Besides exposing the sensitive nerves in your teeth, untreated cavities also cause pain when you chew, or eat anything cold or hot. When cavities linger, they can cause an infection, or lead to an abscessed tooth. If you suspect you may have a cavity, or that you’re prone to getting cavities, please let us know as soon as you can, so that we can prevent you from needing a root canal, or other costly dental treatments. A filling will prevent your tooth (or teeth) from more damage, improve your ability to eat certain foods, and help stop the pain. Instead of those old silver fillings (amalgam), we only use tooth colored fillings. They’re invisible, durable and also mercury free.
3. Cracked Teeth – Sometimes a cracked tooth is obvious. You just bit down on something hard that broke your tooth, or you chipped it playing sports. You may also not even realize that you have a cracked tooth, because the crack is very slight, and difficult to detect. In either situation, a chipped or cracked tooth can definitely cause some tooth pain because now the sensitive nerves inside your tooth are exposed. Should you have a cracked or chipped tooth, we have several options to alleviate your pain, as well as renew the function (and often the look!) of your tooth. A porcelain crown, or even a veneer will work wonders.
4. Chronic Teeth Grinding – Teeth grinding and clenching is a part of everyday life, especially during stressful times. However, when it’s chronic, it can cause a lot of damage and pain to your teeth. Teeth grinding is often initiated by stress or anxiety. It can also stem from having a bite alignment issue, or from misaligned jaws, such as TMJ Disorder. Most of us aren’t aware that we grind our teeth because the severe teeth grinding usually takes place when we sleep. The symptoms of it usually involve soreness in your teeth and jaws, tooth sensitivity and tension headaches. If it’s not properly treated, chronic grinding will cause permanent damage to your teeth. If you suspect that you’re grinding or clenching your teeth, we can help protect your teeth from you with a custom made night guard.
5. Receding Gums – It’s your teeth that get noticed, but it’s your gums that support and highlight them. Your gums protect your teeth every day by keeping them tightly secure, while also protecting the sensitive nerve endings. Unfortunately, as we get older our gum tissue also begins to wear down, leading to receding gums. That’s when your gums start to pull away from the tooth surface. It exposes the root surfaces of your teeth. This may lead to painful gums, tooth sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures, and having loose teeth – and eventual tooth loss. Gum recession is one form of gum disease, and it’s usually due to poor oral hygiene habits. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk for getting gum disease and prevent it with regular teeth cleanings and dental check-ups, and by mastering your toothbrushing skills. If your gums do recede to the point where you begin experiencing pain or sensitivity, there are things that can be done to help you treat it, such with medications, or gum contouring.
Don’t let dental pain interfere with your daily life. If you ever experience pain related to your gums or teeth, please let us know – the sooner the better. And if you’ve been nursing a toothache because you suffer from dental fears, we’ve got you covered. Our specialty is comfort, and pain-free dental care. We’ll help take the pain away. Don’t hesitate to call us at (425) 957-4700 to schedule a visit with us or contact us online.