One of the most common questions we receive here at May Family Dental is, “Why does my tooth hurt?” If you’re experiencing tooth pain, there are a number of possible reasons why and surprisingly, pain doesn’t always signal a cavity. Read on to learn the most common culprits of toothaches.
While your pain doesn’t necessarily mean you have a cavity, it is a possibility. Cavities are holes in the teeth that are caused by tooth decay. As a cavity progresses, it affects the nerve of the tooth, and this is when an individual starts to experience pain. While the pain is constant, it often worsens with exposure to heat, cold, and sweet food or drinks.
2. Teeth Grinding
Many adults unconsciously clench or grind their teeth, particularly during times of stress. In particular, some patients grind their teeth while they’re sleeping. You may have heard this referred to as TMJ, which is the name for the temporomandibular joint. Essentially, TMJ is the joint that hinges your lower jaw to your skull. Unfortunately, when you grind or gnash your teeth, you put additional stress on your jaw muscles which can lead to tooth pain.
3. Cracked Teeth
Cracked teeth can result from clenching or grinding, but that isn’t the only cause. Teeth can also crack due to too much pressure on one tooth. Cracked teeth typically occur in the lower back part of the mouth, and they cause mild to intense pain in this area when chewing. When teeth are cracked, the pain is intermittent, and you won’t experience a continuous ache as you would with a cavity.
4. Abscessed Tooth
An abscess is a severe infection at the root of the tooth or between the gum and the tooth that is caused by decay, tooth trauma, or gum disease. These types of dental problems can create openings in the tooth enamel, allowing bacteria to infect the tooth’s center or pulp. If you have a tooth abscess, you may experience severe, continuous, throbbing or shooting pain.
5. Enamel Erosion
As we age, the enamel on our teeth wears down, often due to hard brushing and acidic foods or beverages. Dentin, the inside of the tooth which contains tubules filled with nerve endings, is then left exposed, leading to hypersensitivity. People with worn enamel typically experience tooth pain when eating cold foods or drinking hot beverages.
What Should I Do If I’m Experiencing Tooth Pain?
You should always have tooth pain examined by a dentist. If left untreated, your problems can worsen, resulting in the need for more complex dental procedures. Fortunately, May Family Dental is here to help. We can evaluate your tooth pain and determine the best course of action for treatment.
We have 2 locations for your convenience—one in Logan and the other in Zanesville. Simply click here to access our online appointment request form. Alternatively, you can call our Logan office at 740.385.2631 or our Zanesville office at 740.452.5441.