Dental Pain

Dental Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Dental pain can be a very uncomfortable experience. Typically, the pain is caused by a dental cavity or gum disease. Pain may also stem from a cracked tooth, exposed tooth root, gum inflammation, or an abscess. It can vary from mild and dull to excruciating. Dental pain may worsen when you eat or drink.

Types of Dental Pain

Toothache pain is typically throbbing or sharp. It may be situated in one particular spot or may travel to your jaw, ear, or neck. Other types of dental pain may include the following:

  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Inflamed gums
  • Gum sensitivity
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Sinus pain
  • Fever

Causes of Dental Pain

Dental pain is generally caused by an underlying dental issue. Your pain may be related to one of the following problems:

  • Cavity—Bacteria in the mouth can cause a cavity, which is a hole in the tooth. This hole contains bacteria that can irritate the nerve of the tooth.
  • Gum Disease—Bleeding, sore, or swollen gums can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Cracked Tooth—A crack or break in the tooth can lead to extreme sensitivity or pain when eating or drinking.
  • Exposed Tooth Root—If your gums recede, the root of the tooth may become exposed. Sensitivity and pain can occur when eating or drinking anything hot or cold.
  • Gum Infection—When gums are inflamed and infected, it can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Abscess—An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by infection. It usually causes pain, swelling, and sensitivity.
  • Impacted Tooth—If a tooth is impacted, it may not erupt properly. This can lead to sensitivity and pain.

Treating Dental Pain

The first step to treating dental pain is to visit your dentist. They can determine the cause of your toothache and recommend a treatment plan. Depending on the cause, they may recommend any of the following treatments:

  • Fillings—Fillings are used to repair cavities.
  • Root Canals—Root canals are used to treat infected teeth.
  • Gum Surgery—Gum surgery is used to remove infected tissue and restore gums.
  • Tooth Extraction—If the tooth is too damaged or infected, your dentist may recommend extraction.
  • Crowns or Bridges—Crowns and bridges are used to repair cracked or broken teeth.
  • Antibiotics—Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if there is a severe infection.
  • Pain Medication—Your dentist may recommend ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain medications to help relieve pain.

Preventing Dental Pain

The best way to prevent dental pain is to practice good oral hygiene. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for a cleaning and checkup. If you have a chronic dental problem, such as gum disease, your dentist may recommend a special cleaning to keep the problem from worsening.