We all experience tooth pain from time to time. In fact, a recent survey suggests that over 20% of American adults have had some type of toothache or mouth pain within the previous six-month period. The vast majority of the time, toothaches go away on their own. Sometimes, if the pain is caused by tooth decay or gum disease, for example, you may have to visit your dentist to rid yourself of the pain. And in a few very rare cases, it might be an indication of a more serious problem. But most of the time, tooth pain occurs for a simple reason and goes away on its own in a short period of time. What follows are some of the most common reasons why you might experience tooth pain.
- Sensitivity – Your teeth might be sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks. This happens most often when you the enamel layer of one or more teeth is compromised, or when your gums have receded and expose the nerves of your teeth. Fortunately, sensitivity can usually be resolved within a few days by using a sensitivity toothpaste.
- Tooth decay – Another common reason for tooth pain is a cavity that has gone undetected. Once tooth decay advances to the stage of being painful, it probably means a trip to the dentist. Fortunately, your dentist can usually resolve tooth decay with any one of several simple dental procedures, such as a filling or a crown, for example.
- Sinus infection – Sometimes the cause of a toothache has nothing to do with your teeth at all. A sinus infection can cause your sinuses to become inflamed and put pressure on the nerves of your teeth. This is especially common with your upper teeth, which are much closer to your sinuses.
- Gum disease – If you have gum disease that has progressed past the earlier stages, it can be painful. More advanced cases of gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – can make your gums and teeth sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks.
- Bruxism – If you grind your teeth while you sleep at night, or clench your jaws during the day, it’s referred to as bruxism. This condition can wear down your tooth enamel, which causes sensitivity. It can also make your teeth and jaw feel sore.
- Over-whitening – If you whiten your teeth too often, it can make both your gums and your teeth sensitive. Fortunately, staying away from the whitening products for a period of time usually resolves the issue.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain that doesn’t go away on its own within a few days, or pain that is severe, you should call your dentist to schedule an appointment. Although most of the time tooth pain is caused by something simple and harmless, it is possible that you need treatment by your dentist if the pain persists.