Are you suffering from tooth pain or toothaches? You’re definitely not the only one. Most people will deal with a dental emergency at some point within their lifetime, especially if oral care isn’t maintained. Tooth pain has a variety of causes, especially because tooth pain is an indicator of multiple issues. Sometimes, it can be prevented and sometimes it can’t. Whatever has caused your tooth pain is certainly something that can only get worse if it’s left untreated. That means even if you can’t get a same-day appointment with your dentist, you need to visit a dentist as soon as possible. But if you don’t have time to go, here’s 4 common causes of tooth pain and how to judge them.

Tooth Decay

The most common cause of tooth pain is actually tooth decay. In fact, over 2.4 billion people suffer from untreated tooth decay, and over 190 million new cases are expected every year according to a 2010 Global Burden of Disease study. Tooth decay occurs when oral health is neglected, whether it’s brushing teeth, not regularly flossing or over-consuming sticky and sugary foods and beverages. It can also occur if your mouth is overly dry. The acid in sticky/sugary foods and drinks consumes your enamel and cause cavities, which can cause tooth pain and worse! Now, even if you do consume a good amount of sugary and sticky things, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have tooth decay. As long as you consistently brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, you can prevent cavities!

Some common symptoms of tooth decay are toothaches, sensitivity to temperature changes, dark spots on your teeth and bad breath. While this type of tooth pain can be severe, it may not always be completely urgent. The important thing is to make sure you get into the dentist soon after it starts hurting so they can either put fillings in or install a crown if needed. Looking for some more information on cavities? Here’s an in-depth article on what causes cavities and how to prevent them.

Broken/Chipped Teeth

Another common cause of tooth pain is broken or chipped teeth. Broken/chipped teeth tend to happen a few different ways and sometimes you may not even realize what has happened until you start feeling pain! So, how do you know if you broke or chipped your tooth? For one, if you suffer any sort of facial trauma and an intense, throbbing pain starts in one or some of your teeth, then there’s a good chance you’ve broken or chipped a tooth. Sometimes though, your teeth can be broken without visible trauma. Some common causes of this are gritting your teeth, biting really hard or consistently chewing on hard objects. These are all easy ways to break or chip your teeth, especially if repeated over time. If you want more in-depth information and ways to prevent a chipped tooth, here’s another good resource we have.

Some common symptoms of broken/chipped teeth are:

  • pain when chewing food
  • sensitivity to heat or cold
  • sharp edges on the tooth
  • bleeding

If you suspect a broken tooth or a badly chipped one, you need to visit the dentist as soon as possible. Left untreated, it can only get worse and sometimes, if there is nerve damage, can result in a root canal. There’s a multitude of ways your dentist may treat your tooth, depending on the severity. If it’s just a simple chip, your dentist will put a filling on it to round it out. If there’s a large chunk of your tooth missing, the dentist will file it down and install a crown. In some cases, if your front tooth is broken, a dentist will install a dental veneer, which will make it look normal again.

Tooth Abscess

Teeth abscesses, while a lesser known ailment, are becoming more common now and can become very dangerous. In fact, a study found that from 2000 to 2008, people hospitalized for dental abscesses increased by 40%! So, what is a tooth abscess? A tooth abscess is basically a pus-filled infection of a tooth. These infections, while common, can be prevented with proper oral care. With teeth abscesses, there’s a few different types and each occurs differently. In a periapical abscess, bacteria enter the inner area of your tooth through a cavity and it causes an infection of the root and soft tissues. A periodontal abscess occurs due to gum disease and appears in your gums near the root of the affected tooth. The last common type is a gingival abscess, which is an abscess on your gums, and it occurs when debris like chips gets stuck in your gum.

Some common symptoms of tooth abscesses are:

  • persistent throbbing in your tooth or gums
  • pain that emanates from your tooth to your jaw, ear or even your neck
  • pain that worsens when laying down
  • swollen gums
  • an awful taste in your mouth
  • bad breath
  • loose teeth

A tooth abscess is one of the worst things you can have and if you suspect you have one, you need immediate treatment. With time, the infection can spread to your jaw and brain and occasionally, can cause a life-threatening illness called sepsis. But if caught early, a dentist will drain the abscess and clean it, sometimes prescribing antibiotics, if needed. In cases where the abscess has damaged the tooth, the dentist may extract your tooth or perform a root canal to drain the abscess.

Damaged Fillings

A damaged filling will occur over time. If you put your tooth through a lot of stress, it can occur faster, but normal wear and tear is usually the main cause. When filling falls out, it leaves a gap in your tooth that will cause pain, especially if left unfilled for a period of time.

Some common symptoms of damaged fillings:

  • toothaches
  • sensitivity to temperature changes
  • pain when chewing or drinking
  • visible dark spots on tooth

Damaged or missing fillings will cause some pain but aren’t super urgent. They need to be filled whenever you can get an appointment but don’t fret if you can’t get an immediate appointment unless the pain is severe. The potential complications of not getting a tooth re-filled is an infection or decaying of the tooth. When you get treatment from your dentist, he will check to make sure the tooth isn’t infected. As long as it’s not infected, he will only have to refill it.

About Dental Emergency Care

Dental Emergency Care is an emergency dental office located in Irving, TX. We offer both emergency dental care and general dental care for all patients. Need to get your tooth pain checked out or schedule an appointment that works for your schedule? We got you covered! Call us at (972)-455-8147 or schedule an appointment!