5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt

Seaside family dental office

At our Seaside family dental office, a condition Dr. Scott Santos commonly encounters with patients is the development of sudden, unexplained tooth pain. Whether a shooting, stabbing sensation or more a dull throb or ache, whenever a patient develops tooth pain, they want to know why.

Tooth pain is typically caused when the innermost layer of a tooth – called the pulp – becomes irritated, inflamed, or injured. In addition to the blood vessels that keep your teeth alive and healthy, the pulp also contains the nerves of a tooth. So, those pangs of discomfort you experience are a result of something irritating those delicate nerve endings in a tooth.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common causes for tooth pain Dr. Santos sees at our Seaside family dental office.

You’ve Developed a Cavity

Sudden unexplained tooth pain can be a sign that you have developed a cavity. As the cavity grows, it begins to spread inward towards the delicate nerves of your teeth. This can trigger a toothache or symptoms like feeling sharp pangs of discomfort after consuming hot or cold foods and drinks.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy for Dr. Santos to repair the damage caused by a cavity. The quick placement of a filling will prevent any further expansion from occurring while also removing any stimuli that’s irritating the nerve of a tooth.

A Damaged Dental Filling

While most fillings last for decades, they can eventually become loose or damaged due to habits like teeth grinding or just years of wear and tear.

A healthy filling creates a seal that prevents any food particles or harmful bacteria from entering into the pulp of a tooth. When a filling is damaged or becomes compromised, that seal begins to weaken, allowing bacteria to attack the pulp. Even more troubling, a weakened filling also undermines the overall health of a tooth. Without the stability provided by a filling, a patient may experience a cracked tooth.

Regular dental exams at our Seaside family dental office will provide Dr. Santos the opportunity to spot a filling that needs replacing before any damage is done.

Grinding or Clenching

Teeth grinding or clenching, a habit known as bruxism, places additional strain on the health of your teeth. If you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or frequent headaches, you may be grinding your teeth at night.

Usually the result of stress, teeth grinding can wear down tooth enamel incredibly quickly. This constant stress can lead to cracks developing in teeth, or the habit can actually cause teeth to wear down and become shorter.

Patients who grind their teeth at night may need to wear a nightguard to protect the health of their smile. Similar to a mouth guard, wearing a nightguard while sleeping will prevent teeth from rubbing against each other in such an unnatural way.

Fractured Tooth

A crack in a tooth causes similar discomfort as when fracturing an arm or a leg. You can fracture a tooth from something as simple as biting down on something hard or it can develop slowly over a few years due to daily stress and strain.

A fracture can start off small, and then gradually grow larger. The bigger the crack becomes, the more discomfort it will cause, especially when eating.

How Dr. Santos treats a fractured tooth greatly depends on the size and cause of the fracture. A small crack can be easily repaired with the placement of a dental crown while a more serious fracture may require a root canal to treat.

Gum Disease

While the discomfort you experience may seem like it comes from your tooth, it may actually be coming from your gum tissue instead. Mild forms of gum disease, such as gingivitis, can irritate and inflame gum tissue, causing you to experience discomfort, especially after eating or brushing.

Gingivitis can cause gum tissue to pull away from the base of your teeth, creating pockets along the gum line that expose the delicate nerves beneath. That pain you experience after eating or drinking hot or cold items is the result of those exposed nerves reacting to the change in temperature.

Treating gum disease also depends on its severity. Gingivitis can usually be resolved after a deep cleaning while periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, usually requires root scaling or planing to treat.

If you have any questions about or have started to experience tooth pain, contact the team at our Seaside family dental office. Dr. Santos can help to repair your smile and prevent any discomfort that could threaten your long-term oral health. Don’t let your oral health suffer. Contact our office today!