Why Do My Teeth Hurt? Here Are Some Possible Reasons

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Tooth Pain

Have you ever gone to bite into your delicious dinner and suddenly find yourself dealing with throbbing tooth pain? Well, you are not alone. According to the National Center of Biotechnology upwards of 88% of the population has reported some form of toothache. Though we can all relate to what it feels like to suffer from severe tooth pain, the reasons why you had the toothache in the first place are most likely different. There is a multitude of reasons you may be searching your medicine cabinet for some tooth pain medicine. Below you will find 14 reasons why you may have tooth pain.

Dental Pain

14 Reasons Why Your Teeth May Be Hurting

1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is more commonly known as a cavity. Tooth decay isn’t always felt because it starts at the top and lingers on the sides of your teeth. It isn’t until the decay moves further into the tooth leading to infection (which often results in the need for a root canal), that a tooth ache and pain in gums emerge. Cavities are caused by bacteria that build up over time due to an unhealthy diet and poor dental hygiene. Luckily, cavities can usually be corrected with antibiotics and possibly a filling which is a simple, outpatient dental procedure. 

2. Sensitivity To Cold Or Hot Temperatures

If you have a tooth sensitive to cold, It is possible that taking a sip of cold water or a bite of ice cream causes you to feel a quick, sharp pain in your mouth. This may be the result of sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity occurs when your tooth enamel is worn thin. On the contrary, you may tooth nerve pain only when eating or drinking things that are hot. Teeth sensitive to extreme temperatures are most likely a sign of nerve damage, meaning you may need a root canal. If your sensitivity is mild, you can often ease the tooth pain by using a toothpaste that has potassium nitrate and/or stannous fluoride, such as the highly dentist-recommended Sensodyne. If the sensitivity is unbearable, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible to receive proper treatment, especially if you are sensitive to hot temperatures. 

3. Brushing Too Hard

Yes, there is such a thing as brushing too much and too hard. When you brush using too much pressure, you are actually wearing away your tooth structure and your gum line. This can also lead to temperature sensitivity because the root of the tooth is more exposed. Unfortunately, there is no way to undo the damage that has already been done, but there are treatment options available if your teeth hurt, such as tooth-colored fillings.  

4. Cracked or Damaged Tooth

First and foremost, if you are aware of a cracked tooth, you should stop eating hard foods immediately. You may have cracked or chipped a tooth without realizing it. Obviously, if the damage occurred to your front teeth, you may be able to visually see the damage. However, your back molars are more likely to be damaged from eating hard-to-bite foods, but since they are located in the back of your mouth, the damage may not be visible. If the damage has hit a nerve, it may cause sharp, constant tooth pain. Whether there is pain or not, if you are aware of a cracked, chipped, or damaged tooth, do your best to get to a dental practice as soon as possible to prevent infection and treat your pain.

5. Gum Infection

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 47 percent of adults over 30 years old are affected by periodontal disease, which is commonly known as gingivitis when the gum disease is in its early stages. The issue with gingivitis is that many people are unaware they have it all. However, when left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis which causes severe pain and sensitivity, or even worse, it can lead to an abscess! This is why it is so important to see your dentist at least once a year (preferably every 6 months) to make sure there are no signs of gum infection. 

6. Sinus Infection

This one may catch some off-guard; however, it is not uncommon for flared-up sinuses to affect your teeth. You see, the roots of some of your teeth are located by your sinuses. If your sinuses become inflamed, the pressure can compress the nerve endings and cause tooth or jaw pain. This is one of the only tooth ache causes or reasons your teeth may hurt (on the list) that may require a physician over a dentist if the sinus infection does not go away on its own. 

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7. Brightened Your Smile

If you have recently used teeth whitening products of any kind, whether it was whitening strips, a bleaching gel, or an in-office tooth whitening treatment, this may be the reason for your sudden increased sensitivity as well as gum irritation. Luckily, the gums’ sore feeling or tooth pain is usually temporary and will go away on its own 1-3 days after you stop using the teeth bleaching products. You can minimize the sensitivity by using Sensodyne for a week or so before the whitening treatment

8. Suffering From Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Your jaw contains 2 joints called the temporomandibular joints, which connect your lower jaw to the skill, making them one of the most complex joints in the human body! Therefore, temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a disorder of the jaw muscles and the nerves within the lower jaw, causing chronic tooth pain. Treatment options for TMD vary depending on the tooth ache causes. For this reason, it is important to meet with a dentist so that proper treatment can be provided.

9. Gum Recession

As we age, our gums tend to naturally recede. As the gum line recedes, the roots they protect start to become exposed, leaving them aching and at higher risk of gum disease and infections. Additional symptoms of gum recession include bad breath, mouth sores, gum soreness, or “seeing pink” when you brush (meaning your gums are bleeding).

10. Repetitive Grinding or Clenching

Those who grind or clench their teeth may suffer from mouth pain due to the fact that the grinding of your teeth wears away at the enamel. If you are under a lot of stress, you may clench your jaw at night without even realizing it. If this is the case, come into our Piedmont Triad dentist office in Greensboro, NC to get a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth.

11. Too Much Mouthwash

Just as you can brush your teeth too much, you can also overdo it with the mouth rinse. This is because mouthwash does a good job of providing a deep clean. When you give your mouth a swish multiple times a day, the acids that some oral rinses contain can damage the dentin in your teeth. 

12. You Have A Bun In The Oven

Congrats, you’re having a baby! Pregnancy increases your chances of getting gingivitis and cavities. If your gums have become sensitive or you are seeing pink in the sink when brushing your teeth, you may need to schedule a checkup with your restorative dentist. 

13. Your Diet Is Too Acidic

Foods high in acid, such as coffee, citrus fruits, and soda, wear away your tooth enamel faster, leaving them more exposed and sensitive. Also, if you vomit a lot, the stomach acid within the vomit may damage your teeth,  making your teeth sensitive to hot and cold, as well. This is common if you suffer from Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or bulimia. 

14. Teeth Are Moving or Breaking Through The Gums

Though moving teeth and new ones coming in typically occur in children and young adults (because of wisdom tooth pains), it is actually not uncommon for adults to deal with temporary mouth pain from teething moving as well. For example, if your wisdom teeth were never removed or you have a crowded mouth, your teeth may adjust from time to time, making your teeth hurt. Luckily, this tooth pain can usually be reduced or relieved altogether by taking ibuprofen or naproxen.

Tooth Pain Relief at Home

Suffering from tooth pain or pain in gums may make you feel as though you need to abandon your oral hygiene routine. However, it is crucial that you do not miss or skip any part of your oral care. To help you get through the pain until you are able to see your dentist, you can use the following to reduce sensitivity and toothaches:

  • Toothpaste, mouthwash, and/or floss for sensitive gums and teeth
  • An extra-soft toothbrush
  • Avoid smoking tobacco products
  • Take over-the-counter pain relieving medication such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, or naproxen
  • Rinse with salt water
  • Eat a healthy, yet soft-to-chew diet
  • Drink lots of fluids

When To See A Dentist

Using home remedies will only help to ease your symptoms; they will not treat the underlying cause in most scenarios. If you live in Greensboro, North Carolina, and your teeth hurt or have suddenly become sensitive, or you are feeling mouth, gum, or tooth pain of any kind, you should schedule an appointment with Friendly Dentistry so we can started on your restorative dentistry action plan and relieve your dental pain as soon as possible.