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Common Causes of Toothaches: Dealing with Dental Pain

By Eugene D. Stanislaus on November 27, 2014


A woman suffers from a painful toothacheAt Brooklyn Heights Dental®, we see a lot of patients who suffer from toothaches and other kinds of dental pain. To treat these issues with soreness and discomfort, we use the latest treatments in restorative dentistry to eliminate pain and improve overall health.

Treating the toothache effectively means understanding the cause of the problem and addressing that directly. Below we have listed the most common causes of tooth pain as well as the common treatments that we use to address them.

Severe Tooth Decay and Toothaches

Major tooth decay increases the likelihood of serious toothaches and dental pain. Patients may notice sensitivity when consuming hot and cold foods/beverages or soreness when they bite and chew. The ideal treatment option for tooth decay is a dental restoration of some kind (i.e., dental fillings, inlays, onlays, dental crowns).

Tooth Injuries and Toothaches

Tooth injuries can occur in many different ways, such as sports accidents, vehicle collisions, physical altercations, slips and falls, and even accidents while eating (e.g., biting an unpopped popcorn kernel). As with tooth decay, the ideal treatment for tooth injuries is the use of a dental restoration of some kind.

Infections of the Dental Pulp and Toothaches

An infection of the dental pulp means that bacteria has breached the enamel and dentin layers of a tooth and has affected the internal soft tissue of the tooth. This can be very painful, and it can lead to serious health problems if the infection spreads. The best option for saving the tooth and relieving the toothache is a root canal.

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism) and Toothaches

Tooth grinding refers to the gnashing, clenching, and shifting of the teeth while a person is asleep. This can be caused by stress, poor dental alignment, or a combination of both. Sore teeth is a common sign of bruxism, and left untreated it can also cause tooth damage. The best treatment options for teeth grinding are generally stress management and/or orthodontic care.

Gum Recession Toothaches

While many people wouldn't expect it, gum recession is a common cause of toothaches and tooth sensitivity. The reason for this is the additional exposure of the tooth roots, making the teeth acutely sensitive to hot and cold substances. Treating gum recession generally involves soft tissue grafting techniques.

Poorly Aligned Teeth and Toothaches

In addition to contributing to teeth grinding, poor tooth alignment can cause toothaches in other ways. When teeth are poorly aligned, it can place more stress on certain teeth when biting or chewing. Over time, this leads to major pain and even weakened teeth. The ideal option for care is orthodontic treatment.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth and Toothaches

Wisdom teeth are a common issue for people as they reach their late teens and early twenties. These are extra sets of molars that grow in behind your rear molars. Impacted wisdom teeth grow in crooked and inwards, placing painful stress on your existing teeth that can potentially cause cracks and tooth damage. Wisdom tooth extraction is the ideal treatment option for these matters.

Tips for Preventing the Causes of Toothaches

The best ways to prevent toothaches are generally good dental hygiene practices and common sense solutions:

  • Wear mouth protection when playing contact sports
  • Eat foods slowly to avoid accidental injuries
  • Do not chew on hard objects (e.g., ice cubes) inedible objects (e.g., pen caps)
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Schedule a Consultation at Brooklyn Heights Dental®

If you would like more information about treating toothaches and what our team can do to enhance your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Brooklyn Heights Dental® looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve total health and wellness.

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