Your teeth may hurt due to a tooth fracture, cavity, broken filling, or an abscess in your mouth.
Grinding or clenching your teeth at night may also cause tooth pain.
Getting a sinus infection can also cause pain since the nerves in your nose also run to the teeth.
Toothaches can range from being a slight annoyance to being a debilitating throbbing pain.
Various factors can contribute to toothaches, and dental issues are typically not self-diagnosable. If you're experiencing tooth pain of any sort, it's important to get it checked out by a dentist.
Here are seven reasons why you may be experiencing tooth pain.
1. A cavity
A cavity is a decayed area that results in a hole in the tooth. Cavities can be painful and may hurt more if you consume something particularly cold or hot.
It's most common for cavities to be sensitive to cold temperatures, causing tooth pain, says Kenneth Allen, DDS, MBA, vice chair and clinical professor of cariology and comprehensive care at NYU College of Dentistry.
Cavities will cause more pain as they get bigger and closer to the nerve, which is in the center of the tooth, says Allen. Cavities must be filled by dentists in order for pain to be relieved.
General advice: You should visit your dentist every six months for regular check-ups to detect cavities at early stages.
2. A tooth fracture
"A visible fracture - when a piece of the tooth breaks off - can happen from a traumatic injury or even biting on a hard object," says Allen. A tooth fracture can cause a lot of pain, especially if the fracture extends into the nerve. In this case, a root canal or extraction is necessary. Treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture.
Even if the fracture does not extend into the nerve, your tooth may still feel sore. You may particularly experience sensitivity while eating or drinking, which should resolve itself after the tooth is repaired by a dentist.
3. An abscess or infection
If you have an infection in your mouth, it may cause a pocket of pus known as an abscess. This can cause severe, throbbing pain.
Allen says this most commonly occurs when a cavity or injury affects the pulp of the tooth (the center of the tooth), which includes the nerve.
You may be able to identify an abscess if you see a bubble of pus on your gums. But the access could also be invisible and located under the root of your tooth, so it's important to see your dentist.
Treatment for abscesses
Draining the abscess
Root canal treatment
Possible tooth extraction
4. Grinding teeth
Grinding or clenching your teeth can cause small, painful cracks.
"A classic symptom of a cracked tooth is pain when releasing after biting on a hard object. A cracked tooth is one of the more difficult conditions to diagnose since the fracture does not always show up on an x-ray," says Allen.
Even if you don't have a cracked tooth, grinding or clenching can still cause pain. In order to combat this, try using relaxation techniques to reduce your overall anxiety levels. This may make you less likely to clench.
You can also use a night guard while you sleep to prevent grinding throughout the night.
5. A broken or damaged filling
If a broken filling has decay underneath it, it will have the same painful symptoms of a cavity, says Allen. Additionally, a broken or damaged filling may cause sensitivity.
"A broken or damaged filling can create a space where hot or cold liquids have access to the dentin which is a more sensitive part of the tooth located underneath the white outer covering of enamel we are more familiar with," says Allen.
It's important to see a dentist every six months so that broken fillings can be detected before they are symptomatic and to prevent pain in the first place.
6. A sinus infection
Toothaches are not always caused by problems in the teeth themselves. A sinus infection affects the maxillary sinus, which is located by the nose and cheeks, directly above your teeth.
"In some cases, the roots of the teeth and nerves that run to these teeth can be in the sinus. If you have a sinus infection, with fluid in the sinus, you can get pressure on these teeth or nerves which can cause pain," says Allen.
Recirc sinus infection treatment In order to treat this, you would need to see your primary doctor for treatment of the sinus infection. Once the infection is cleared up, your tooth pain should go away.
There are many causes for tooth pain that you may experience. If you have tooth pain, it's crucial to see a dental professional as soon as possible so that they can assess the situation and take care of the problem before it progresses and so that you can feel relief from your pain.
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