The 5 Kinds of Tooth Pain — and Their Causes

Tooth pain can have far-reaching effects on your daily life. With a toothache, just getting through your day might be a challenge all on its own. Eating, working, even talking… all of these activities are hindered by a problem toothache.

However, knowing the kind of tooth pain you are dealing with can be half the battle. Most problems with tooth pain can be broken down into the following categories:

Sensitivity to Cold

Have you ever taken a quick drink of cold water and felt a lightning bolt run through your jaw?

One of the most common forms of tooth pain, sensitivity to cold is a sharp pain in the tooth. It’s often short, fast, and intense. Generally, this means there is a bit of irritation on the tooth’s nerve. This can happen for a few different reasons.

  1. You may have a cracked tooth. When the enamel on your tooth is broken, your nerve is no longer protected. This can also cause pain when chewing your food as well. In most cases, having a simple crown installed is your best option.
  2. You could be dealing with tooth decay. Again, as the tooth decays, that protective layer of enamel is affected. When cold water and air flood into the nerve, you’ll suffer incredible discomfort. As long as the decay is minor, a filling can help.
  3. Your teeth may be worn down. The enamel has not rotted away, but you’ve either brushed your teeth too hard, or you grind your teeth. In either case, that enamel is gone again, and the cold air and water are able to access and irritate the nerve. If minor, you can address this issue with a desensitising toothpaste from your dentist. If it’s a serious issue, fillings or crowns might be ordered.

Cold isn’t the only temperature that can be affected by tooth sensitivity, however.

NOTE: Always use language like “you might be experiencing” the goal here is to give them just enough information to make them want to see a pro.  When you write that they do have something or that it is something it tends to “answer” the question too hard in their brains and they don’t take the action we want (click to call or email for more info) Also, when you make a suggestion for the “fix” try to frame it as simple/easy.  You’ll also want to mention how dental techniques have evolved and are often times totally pain free

Sensitivity to Hot

A quick sip of morning coffee wakes you up in more ways than one. A jolt of pain coming from a tooth shocks you awake when you’re dealing with a hot sensitivity. And unlike the tooth pain from cold, a hot sensitivity might linger for a little bit.

This is a sign that bacteria has gotten into your tooth and is affecting the nerve. Because the nerve is irritated so strongly by the bacteria, your best course of action will be a root canal or an extraction.

In this situation, it’s best to catch it early. The sooner you can catch an irritated nerve, the less invasive – and less costly – the treatment will be. This is why it is so important to have regular dental checkups.

Finally, your tooth pain might not be so sudden at all…

The Aching Tooth Pain

When most people talk about “having a toothache”, they’re usually talking about this dull ache. It’s not as intense as the sensitivities to hot and cold, but the pain is near-constant.

There are a host of reasons why you might have a dull toothache, but most often, it’s because of the bone that is supporting your teeth. If an infection has moved through the nerve canal and is now building pressure on the bone (which is most common), then that pain you might be feeling is only going to get worse.

Much like the sensitivity to hot, this will usually require a root canal or an extraction.

There are other reasons why this can happen: gum disease, grinding of the teeth, and trauma are all common causes of a toothache.

In any situation, your best course of action is to be seen by a dentist. With a proper examination, the exact cause of your tooth pain can be diagnosed and a plan of action can be put in place.

Not only that, but most of these tooth issues are preventable, so regular check-ups will help you catch these problems early – or hopefully, avoid them altogether.

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