As anyone that has ever had a toothache can tell you, dental pain can be one of the most excruciating and debilitating types of pain you can experience. The reason teeth can cause such a high level of pain has to do with the source of the pain and its relation to a significant nerve branch called the Trigeminal Nerve.
A toothache is typically caused when a dental cavity or tooth decay becomes so large that it reaches the nerve inside the tooth. Dental decay is the breakdown of tooth structure, and it can cause a void or hole in the tooth. When this hole reaches the nerve inside the tooth, the nerve can be exposed to air. This causes a sharp, excruciating pain that can lead to a dental emergency. With preventative measures such as dental fillings, crowns, and dental cleanings, these dental emergencies can be avoided.
When a toothache occurs, our dental team will evaluate the area for swelling and pressure sensitivity. After taking a dental x-ray, our team will be able to identify the cause of the tooth pain and recommend corrective action. When a tooth has started to cause severe pain, treatment options typically involve saving the tooth with a root canal and crown, or removing the teeth. It is almost always cheaper and easier to save a tooth than to have to replace it later on with a dental implant or bridge.
Less severe types of dental pain include cold sensitivity or biting pain. Dental sensitivity related to cold water or air can have a number of causes. Sensitivity is caused by a lack of protection between the outer layer of the tooth and the nerve inside the tooth. This can occur when the gums shrink back in gingival recession, from recent teeth whitening, from a recent filling, or from a cavity.
When gum recession is present, the root surface is exposed, leading to tooth sensitivity. The root surface does not have enamel covering the surface and can be more sensitive than the upper surface of the tooth. Treatment options for this type of sensitivity include gum grafts or dental fillings. Sensodyne Toothpaste can offer short term relief for hypersensitivity.