Tooth pain is the most common cause of mouth pain, affecting millions of Americans — adults and kids — every year. One of the reasons why tooth pain is so common is because there are so many factors that can cause or contribute to tooth pain.
At Novi Family Dentistry in Novi, Michigan, Abir Faraj, DDS, and her team use advanced techniques to diagnose and treat the causes of tooth pain, helping patients of all ages feel better and stay healthy. In this blog, Dr. Faraj explains five of the most common causes of tooth pain.
Cavities are one of the most common causes of tooth pain. A cavity forms when acids produced by bacteria weaken the hard enamel shell of a tooth. Eventually, acid erosion exposes the inside part of the tooth, beginning with the inner layer of material called dentin, then eventually extending all the way to the softer portion in the center of the tooth called the pulp.
Weak and exposed areas allow the bacteria to enter the tooth. As the bacteria multiply, they continue to eat away at the tooth's structure, which can cause infection, inflammation, and pain. Without treatment, a cavity can eventually result in tooth loss, and the infection may spread to other areas of your mouth as well.
Infections are another common cause of tooth pain. Some infections are caused by deep, untreated cavities. Other infections can occur when bacteria infect the gum tissue, a condition called gum disease or periodontitis, which is the top cause of tooth loss among adults. Left untreated, infections can spread to the jawbone or form a swollen, painful, pus-filled abscess.
Fillings, crowns, and other restorations play important roles in treating tooth damage and preventing damage from getting worse. But although restorations are strong and durable, they may not last forever. Fillings can loosen, and crowns can crack or come loose, which can expose the sensitive nerves inside the tooth and dramatically increase the risk of decay and tooth loss.
Fractured or cracked teeth can occur from an injury to your mouth or face, or they may be caused by biting or chewing something very hard. Some fractures happen when an old filling or other restoration gets damaged and is left unrepaired. No matter what causes a fracture or crack, the opening that’s made leaves the interior portion of the tooth exposed to bacteria, significantly raising your risks for infection and tooth loss.
About 40 million Americans suffer from tooth sensitivity at some point, experiencing dull aching or pain when their teeth are exposed to hot or cold temperatures. Tooth sensitivity happens when the tooth enamel wears down, when tiny cracks form in the tooth surface, or when the gums recede, exposing tiny the “tubes” that lead to the interior portion of the tooth. These tubes transmit hot or cold temperatures to the tooth’s sensitive nerves, triggering pain and discomfort.
These are five of the most common causes of tooth pain, but they’re not the only reasons why your teeth can hurt. The only way to know for sure what’s causing your pain is to see Dr. Faraj as soon as possible. She’ll perform an exam and take X-rays to determine what’s causing your pain and design a plan to relieve your pain and improve your oral health.
If you have tooth pain, don’t ignore it. Early treatment is the best way to protect your tooth and feel better fast. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Novi Family Dentistry today.