Patient getting her interdental spaces examined

Is your tooth hurting? Many people worry that tooth pain is going to lead to tooth loss. It certainly can, but if you act quickly, we can usually save your teeth.

Pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong. Although modern over-the-counter pain medication can make it easier to avoid pain–including tooth pain–you shouldn’t ignore pain. Instead, you should know that many of the causes of tooth pain can lead to tooth loss.

Tooth Decay and Infected Tooth

Often a toothache is sign that you’ve got tooth decay. In the early stages, tooth pain might just be related to pressure, heat, or sweets. But if left untreated, tooth decay can become more serious.

When it begins, a cavity is only damage to the outer layers of the tooth. However, as the cavity gets deeper, it can penetrate into the interior chamber of the tooth, where the living part of the tooth, known as the pulp or nerve. When this occurs, your tooth is infected, which can be a very serious situation.

Other symptoms that may go along with an infected tooth include:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Foul taste
  • Swelling, pimples, or drainage from the gums
  • Localized warmth
  • Fever

An infected tooth requires root canal therapy to treat. Fortunately, root canals are very effective at preserving your tooth–it can last for decades after being treated with a root canal. But if left untreated, an infected tooth may be lost, and it can take other teeth with it.

Tooth Trauma

Hitting your tooth can be painful. But the surprising part about it is that it might not hurt right away. Most tooth pain related to trauma isn’t related to the initial contact. The initial contact can trigger inflammation in the tooth. This makes the pulp of the tooth swell up. But without any place for the pulp to go, the pressure in the tooth increases significantly, and it’s this pressure that causes pain.

This is a good time to try over-the-counter pain medications, but only if they have anti-inflammatory properties like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). This isn’t just masking the pain, it’s addressing the cause of pain by reducing swelling.

See a dentist for tooth trauma pain if it doesn’t respond to medications, persists for more than a week, or if the tooth is loose or discolors.

Imbalanced Bite

Your teeth are designed to handle bite pressure as a team. Bite forces should be distributed evenly in your mouth. If they’re not, it can be painful.

When a tooth is subjected to excessive force as in a bite condition like TMJ, the tooth can hurt, or maybe you’ll feel jaw pain in the bone around the tooth. Although you may be able to control this often dull, achy pain with pain medication, it needs attention.

Dental pressure from an imbalanced bite can cause progressive damage to your teeth. It can lead to tooth wear, chipping, and can damage many of your teeth. This can turn the dull ache into a sharp pain. It may be impossible to ignore at that point, but it might also be too late to save your tooth. A tooth crack that extends into the tooth root cannot be repaired.

Exposed Root

If your tooth pain is mostly related to hot and cold beverages, it may also be related to an exposed tooth root. This can lead to tooth loss because the tooth root is more vulnerable to decay, and root cavities can be harder to repair.

Fortunately, we offer a solution for receding gums that can help control tooth sensitivity and may save your teeth: Chao Pinhole ® Gum Treatment. This can cover exposed roots, restoring the appearance of your smile and protecting your teeth.

Act Now to Save Your Teeth

As you can see, many causes of toothaches can lead to tooth loss–but they don’t have to. If your tooth hurts, it needs attention, but it’s probably not too late to save it.

For help preserving your teeth, please call (910) 392-6060 today for an appointment with restorative dentist Dr. Michael Kuzma at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.