There is nothing worse than feeling the pain of a toothache creep into your mouth. In honor of National Toothache Day (February 9th), let us delve into toothache symptoms, what it could mean, and some things you can do to help with pain, as well as prevent toothaches from happening.
Since a toothache is a common problem, it comes with a lot of symptoms too. Some of these include:
- Throbbing pain
- Sharp pain
- Pain when pressure is applied
- Pain when exposed to hot or cold temperatures
If any of these symptoms last longer than 1-2 days, it’s time to see your dentist for further examination.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to pinpoint what’s causing your toothache since so many issues can cause them.
Tooth Decay and cavities are very common. When you eat foods, especially ones that have a lot of sugar, you’re feeding the bacteria in your mouth. As the bacteria eat, they produce acid, which damages tooth enamel. Typically, you won’t feel pain until the acid eats past your enamel and reaches the nerves underneath. If you are to the point where you feel pain, you will most likely need a filling, crown, or root canal (depending on the amount of damage).
How to Prevent Cavities
- Avoid sugary foods. One of the best solutions is to not give the bacteria what they want. Avoiding foods that are sugary or made of simple carbohydrates will give them less fuel to create the acid that damages your teeth.
- Use products that have fluoride. Most toothpastes already contain fluoride, and you can top off your dental hygiene routine by rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash. Fluoride can even help rebuild lost enamel caused by tooth decay.
- Brush and floss daily. This prevents plaque from turning into tartar, which causes tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis). Additionally, visit your dentist to keep up with your routine teeth cleanings.
Bruxism (clenching or grinding your teeth) can damage your teeth. You might be experiencing bruxism if you have sore teeth; a sore or swollen jaw; significant tooth wear; or find yourself clenching your teeth without having been aware of doing so. If you have these symptoms, there a few things you can to do help prevent this from continuing.
- Get fitted with a night guard. Your dentist can diagnose that you grind your teeth while you sleep, and prescribe the proper type of mouth protection to prevent pain and damage to your teeth.
- Adjust your bite. Your bite may be causing only certain teeth to touch, putting more strain on those particular spots. Further examination by your dentist will determine what actions need to be taken from there.
- Relax! Stress can play a huge factor in clenching your teeth. See our previous blog post for more information on this subject.
Cracked tooth or missing filling:
Cracked teeth—or a lost filling or crown—can expose the inner tooth pulp to irritation by food and hot or cold temperatures. If left untreated for too long, cracks can grow, creating a split tooth and making a fix unlikely. To avoid cracked teeth, follow these tips:
- Don’t chew on hard foods, like ice cubes, hard candies, or other objects like pens or jewelry.
- Wear mouth protection when playing physical sports.
If you notice a crack or missing hardware, set up a time to visit your doctor as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. Until you can see your dentist, there are few things you can do to help with the pain. One option is to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. (Always read the directions to ensure you are able to take it!) You can also put clove oil on a cotton swab and apply it to the affected area. Apply a cold press if you notice swelling. Remember, these are just temporary solutions to your pain, and you will need to go to your dentist if the pain persists for more than 1-2 days.
A breath of crisp winter air, a sip of hot cocoa, a bite out of a sweet candy cane — all of these have two things in common: They remind us of the rapidly approaching holiday season, and though less pleasant, each can also trigger the sharp, unexpected pain associated with tooth sensitivity.
What Is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is experienced as a sharp, sudden pain that is felt in the tooth and gum areas. It occurs when gum and enamel loss expose the sensitive surface of the teeth that lie beneath, called dentin. Dentin is less dense than enamel and contains thousands of tubes that lead to the tooth’s nerve center, called the pulp. Once the protective cover is lost, heat, cold, and sweet and acidic foods can reach the nerves inside the tooth through the tubes, eliciting a pain response. Fortunately, once the cause of tooth sensitivity is identified, there are options for treating it and restoring optimal oral comfort.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Some of the things that lead to tooth sensitivity include:
- Overbrushing, brushing too hard, or brushing with a hard-bristle toothbrush
- Grinding and clenching teeth
- Tooth decay located near the gumline
- Plaque buildup
- Tooth-whitening products
- Gum disease
- Fractured tooth
- Dental work
Preventing Tooth Sensitivity
The key to preventing tooth sensitivity is maintaining good oral-hygiene practices. Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing regularly will go a long way toward keeping your gums and teeth healthy and strong. The following are additional steps you can take for reducing tooth sensitivity:
- Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently
- Avoid foods and beverages that are acidic
- If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear when you sleep
- Brush with toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Keep your enamel strong by using products with fluoride
Treating Tooth Sensitivity
The manner in which tooth sensitivity is treated largely depends on the condition that led to it or the situation that is causing it. If sensitivity is resulting from a cavity or a chip in a tooth, a restoration can be placed to fix it. However, if sensitivity results from exposed dentin, there are treatments designed to reduce the discomfort.
- Fluoride varnish can be applied to the vulnerable, exposed areas of your teeth.
- A mouth tray with a high concentration of fluoride in the form of foam can be placed in your mouth for five minutes. This treatment strengthens weak areas.
- The bonding agent used to adhere restorations to teeth can be used to put a protective seal over the surface of the dentin.
- Gum tissue can be moved from one area of the mouth to an area where tissue has been lost from the root with a gum graft.
If you think you might be suffering from gum sensitivity, call us today at (661) 952-7865 to set up an appointment and find out more about what you can do to restore your oral comfort before the holidays hit.
It’s a beautiful summer day outside. You are walking through a park when, out of nowhere, a levitating bowl full of giant pinwheel lollipops appears in front of you. You reach for a particularly colorful one and take a huge chomp out of it. Suddenly, clouds fill the sky and shards of the lollipop fall from your mouth. You look down only to realize it’s your teeth that have all fallen to the ground instead!
Sound like a familiar nightmare? Bad dreams about tooth loss are not uncommon, and neither is the fear of losing your teeth as you age. While it can happen, tooth loss isn’t inevitable. There are certain avoidable conditions that lead to it, and if tooth loss does occur, there are some amazing solutions — like dental implants — that can restore your natural-looking smile to its original state.
Are You at Risk for Tooth Loss?
Tooth loss is not a natural occurrence. The following are some common circumstances that most often lead to the loss of a tooth or teeth.
Tooth trauma: One of the most common causes of tooth loss is trauma caused by impact or unexpected contact with a hard surface. Breaking, chipping, and cracking that leads to a tooth needing to be removed can be caused by a fall, getting hit with a bat or ball while playing sports, or biting down on a hard object, like a hidden seed or shell.
The use of teeth as a tool is another example of how trauma can lead to a tooth extraction. Avoid activities like removing caps, tearing tags, and cutting threads with your teeth. There are tools that are made for these types of jobs, so you can avoid damaging your teeth.
Disease: Poor oral hygiene and nutrition cause the buildup of plaque and tooth decay that leads to periodontal disease. Preserving your teeth means more than just brushing twice a day and flossing; it means taking care of your whole health. You need to maintain a balanced diet, moderate or eliminate activities like drinking alcoholic beverages, and get to those routine dental visits. Periodontal disease doesn’t just put you at risk for tooth loss — it puts your whole health at risk.
Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are detrimental to many aspects of your health, including your teeth. It can cause you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth during the day, as well as in your sleep. There are many stress-relief techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation that can help. You should also talk to your dental provider about being evaluated for a bite guard to protect you from nighttime clenching and grinding.
Smoking: Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your lungs and your heart, but people don’t realize that it also increases the likelihood of tooth loss. It affects the blood supply to your gums and increases the occurrence and severity of periodontal disease. The risks of tooth loss increase with both traditional and smokeless cigarettes.
The bottom line is that the key to keeping your teeth throughout your lifetime is taking care of your whole health. If tooth loss does occur, don’t despair: Your provider has solutions available that can restore your smile. From tooth implants to a variety of denture options, there is a natural-looking option perfect for you.
To find out more about how to maintain your natural smile, call the office of Dr. Doug Weber today at (661) 952-7865.