What could be causing my tooth or gum pain?
In most cases, a rigorous oral hygiene routine will prevent toothaches but if you are experiencing tooth or gum pain (whether mild or severe), it is essential to have a dentist diagnose its underlying cause as soon as possible.
Some of the most common causes of tooth and gum pain seen by our Hamilton dentists include:
Cavities develop fairly slowly but the pain can occur suddenly. Tooth decay should be taken care of as soon as possible in order to prevent an infection from taking hold.
Grinding, Trauma or Injury
Whether you grind your teeth in your sleep and gradually wear them down, or you sustain an injury in some more immediate way, for instance, while playing sports, a fractured or damaged tooth can be very painful – don’t ignore it. Your dentist may recommend treating it with a filling, crown or bonding.
Teeth grinding can also lead to tooth sensitivity issues. Speak to your dentist for advice on how to break this harmful habit.
When wisdom teeth become impacted, they often become painful due to the pressure they inflict on the surrounding teeth, or infection. Impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to secondary issues such as tooth damage and crowding if there isn’t enough room for them to erupt correctly.
Bacterial infections may lead to pockets filled with pus. This not only creates painful sensitivity, but can also develop into a more serious health concern, or even a life-threatening, condition.
Gum disease (periodontal disease) can range from gingivitis in the early stages to severe gum disease. In the early stages, your dentist may treat your gingivitis with a procedure called scaling and root planing – the process of removing plaque buildup from the gum line.
In the case of more severe gum disease, you may require a root canal, antibiotics, and/or surgery to treat the issue.
Other Potential Causes
At this point, it's important to note that some people experience temporary tooth sensitivity, which doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious problem.
Using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth may help. You should also attempt to avoid eating extremely hot or cold food and drinks until the sensitivity goes away.
If you experience ongoing sensitivity (for more than a couple of days), this may be cause for more serious concern, such as gum recession, and you should see your dentist.
There are also times the issue that’s causing your tooth pain may lie outside your mouth. Viral or sinus infections, vitamin deficiencies, headaches or colds may cause symptoms similar to what you might feel with a toothache.
However, it’s still worth it to schedule an appointment with your dentist as ignoring or misdiagnosing the pain yourself could lead to serious issues. Most dental pain won’t clear up on its own and should be assessed by your dentist.
What can I do to relieve my tooth or gum pain?
If you are looking for ways to relieve your tooth pain, the first and most obvious answer is to make an appointment with your dentist so that the issue can be diagnosed and treated.
In the meantime, there are a few home remedies for tooth pain you can try. Apply an ice pack or taking an over-the-counter pain medication to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, a saltwater rinse can also help soothe and relieve tooth pain.