Arcadia Dentistry
Matthew Milana, D.D.S., F.A.G.D.

Different Types of Tooth Pain and What They Could Mean

May 27, 2022
Posted By: Arcadia Dentistry

Tooth pain can mean many things, including oral infection, untreated tooth decay, gum disease, and generalized sensitivity. Fortunately, your Phoenix, AZ dentist can help diagnose and treat tooth pain causes and recommend tips for general sensitivity.

Types of tooth pain and causes can overlap. For example, tooth sensitivity can mean an emerging cavity or have a non-specific reason that requires only tips and changes to reverse.

Let’s explore the various types of tooth pain and their causes.

Oral Infections, Tooth Trauma, and Root Canal Treatment in Arcadia, AZ

One of the most common causes of tooth pain is root infection—an infection in the root canal of your tooth that houses nerves and pulp. Without treatment, this infection can spread, lead to tooth loss, and cause excruciating pain. We recommend contacting the dentist at the first signs of root infection:

  • Increasing tooth sensitivity or pain
  • Gum or face swelling
  • Bump or blister near the painful tooth

Of course, you don’t have to have all these symptoms to have a root infection. An emerging issue may present with few symptoms. However, in most cases, root infection means an emergency dental visit.

At this appointment, your emergency dentist in Phoenix numbs your tooth and the surrounding tissue, extracts the infection, and provides a temporary filling to promote healing and prevent reinfection.

We close with a tooth-colored filling or a dental crown at a future dental visit. We use a dental crown if the tooth is at risk following infection. We do not want your treated tooth to fracture in the future. A dental crown—a tooth-shaped cover—provides stability to the tooth.

Your dentist may recommend extraction in severe cases followed by tooth replacement, including dental implants.

Deep or Significant Tooth Decay and Toothaches

Tooth sensitivity and pain can also result from untreated tooth decay. If you have a cavity, your dentist numbs the area, extracts the decay, and provides a tooth-colored filling.

In cases of severe decay, we may recommend a tooth crown to prevent fractures and future damage to the tooth.

In severe cases, your dentist may recommend extraction followed by tooth replacement.

Gum Disease and Tooth Pain

Gum disease first presents as gingivitis. In this initial stage, your dentist can reverse the inflammation and infections of the gums and periodontal ligaments because it has not reached the bone.

When gingivitis graduates to gum disease, we can treat the symptoms and restore you to better oral health, but it is no longer reversible.

Tooth pain can be a symptom of gum disease, especially as teeth loosen and gums pocket, exposing the roots.

General and Non-Specific Tooth Sensitivity

Everything from enamel wear to tiny chips can lead to tooth sensitivity. Your dentist can recommend a fluoride treatment or dental bonding to combat these less severe causes of tooth sensitivity.

Other tips to combat this issue include:

  • Brushing and flossing correctly—It may be that you’re brushing too hard and forcing your dental floss. It would help if you also used a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Switch to alcohol-free mouthwash—Alcohol-free mouthwash can reduce dryness and be less abrasive for your tooth enamel, eliminating or reducing tooth sensitivity.  
  • Take a break from teeth whitening—Ongoing teeth whitening can cause temporary tooth sensitivity. And over-the-counter products can be incredibly abrasive. Instead, talk to your dentist about the best products for your smile.
  • Switch toothpaste—Look for toothpaste formulated for tooth sensitivity. But be sure you choose an option that carries the American Dental Association seal of approval.
  • See your dentist—Some conditions like bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) are not immediately evident unless the dentist has a look. Tooth sensitivity can be a presenting symptom.

Prevent Most Toothaches with Healthy Habits

  • Visit the dentist on schedule for checkups and teeth cleanings
  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly
  • Let us know if you notice a tooth pain or oral health change
  • Talk to our hygienist about healthy brushing and flossing techniques

Contact Your Phoenix, AZ Dentist for More Information

We want you to enjoy a healthy and comfortable smile. To learn more or schedule an appointment, give us a call today.

If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (602) 957-2170
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