6 Common Causes of Toothaches and Tooth Pain

6 Common Causes of Toothaches and Tooth Pain

Eugene dentist Dr. Feldmanis regularly encounters issues with toothaches and tooth pain. Both are typically caused when the innermost layer of a tooth, called the pulp, becomes irritated, inflamed, or injured. This is because the pulp contains the tooth’s nerves, among the most sensitive in your body, which leads to those pangs of discomfort. Whether you’re experiencing sharp, sudden pain or a dull, constant throb, it’s important to visit your dentist right away to discover the cause. Today, we’ll look at six of the most common causes of toothaches and pain.


It May be a Cavity

Cavities – aka tooth decay – are a major cause of sudden, unexplained tooth pain. As the cavity grows, it spreads into the tooth’s pulp and irritates those delicate nerves. This can trigger a toothache or sharp pangs of discomfort, especially after you’ve consumed any hot or cold foods or drinks. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy for Dr. Feldmanis to repair any damage caused by a cavity with the quick placement of a filling. This will prevent the cavity from expanding any further as well as removing what is irritating the nerve of a tooth.


Your Filling is Damaged

A healthy filling creates a seal that prevents any food particles or harmful bacteria from entering the pulp of a tooth. That said, even though most fillings can last for years, some become loose or damaged due to wear and tear, or habits like teeth grinding. When a filling is compromised, the seal begins to weaken, allowing bacteria to attack the pulp. Not only that, a filling that is weakened can also undermine the overall health of a tooth. And without the stability provided by the filling, leading to a cracked tooth.


A Cracked Tooth

There are other ways you can fracture a tooth, from biting down on something very hard to wearing it down slowly over years through teeth grinding. If your tooth cracks or breaks, be sure to contact our office right away. Even if it starts off small, a crack will gradually grow larger, causing more and more discomfort, especially when eating. How Dr. Feldmanis treats a fractured tooth will depend on the size and cause of the fracture. While a small crack can be easily repaired with the placement of a dental crown, a more serious fracture may require a root canal to treat.


Grinding or Clenching

Also known as bruxism, the habit of grinding or clenching teeth is a common problem brought on by a variety of reasons, including stress, sleep disorders, or bite issues. It also places additional strain on the health of your teeth. How do you know you might be grinding or clenching your teeth at night? If you frequently wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or headache, you should reach out to our office as soon as possible. You may need to wear a nightguard (similar to a mouth guard) while sleeping to protect your teeth. This is because regular grinding can wear down tooth enamel quickly, leading to cracks or even your teeth becoming shorter.


Gum Disease

While an ache or pain may feel like it’s coming from a tooth, it may actually be coming from your gum tissue instead. This is because even mild forms of gum disease, like gingivitis, can irritate gum tissues, making it red, swollen and tender. Caused by bacterial infection, gingivitis can cause gum tissue to recede, creating pockets along the gum line that expose the nerves beneath. That discomfort you experience after eating or drinking hot or cold items is the result of those exposed nerves reacting to the change in temperature. How Dr. Feldmanis treats gum disease depends on its severity. Gingivitis can usually be resolved after a deep cleaning. More severe forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis, may require more serious treatments.


Outside your Mouth

Or your discomfort may not be dental in nature at all. You may have what’s called referred pain. That’s when an issue in your body causes pain somewhere elsewhere, like in your teeth. Common causes of referred pain include certain types of headaches, migraines, clogged or infected sinuses, or problems in the muscles that connect your jaw to your skull. In rare cases, a heart attack may cause tooth pain. Or it could even be a sign of nerve disease.  


If you have any questions about or have started to experience tooth pain or aches, contact the team at our Eugene family dentistry right away. Dr. Feldmanis can help to repair your smile and prevent any issues that could threaten your oral health. Contact our office today!

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