If you suffer from tooth pain or discomfort, rest assured, you're not alone. Twenty-nine percent of people suffer from dental pain, which ranges from mild discomfort to severe pain. Tooth decay — the destruction of your tooth enamel from bacteria in plaque — is the biggest culprit. However, nerve damage and loose fillings also cause sensitivity. Here are some of the main causes of tooth pain and sensitivity.
Typically, a cavity doesn't cause pain. However, if left untreated, a cavity kills the nerves at the center of your tooth and affects the blood vessels inside. Untreated cavities can also result in an abscessed tooth — a painful infection that sits between your gums and teeth.
Cavities are often the result of poor oral hygiene habits. If you don't brush your teeth regularly — or not at all — or consume lots of sugary foods and drinks, you increase the chances of tooth decay significantly. Cavities affect both adults and children. In fact, 19 percent of young people aged between two and 19 have untreated cavities.
If you have a cavity, it's crucial you make an appointment with your dentist. You should also modify your daily dental routine to prevent more cavities. The American Dental Association recommends you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, go to your dentist regularly and eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
2. Nerve Damage
When an infection damages the nerves in a tooth, it's often a painful experience. The problem usually stems from your dental pulp — all the living tissue and cells in the center of your tooth. The treatment you have for nerve damage will depend on the type of tooth that's causing you the problem.
If you suffer from nerve damage, your dentist might recommend a root canal. This simple procedure treats the infection at the center of a tooth. Normally, it takes two or more appointments at the dentist to complete an entire treatment.
While a root canal for tooth pain might sound scary, it's far more common than you might think. In fact, dentists in the United States perform 15 million root canals every single year.
3. Loose Filling
Dentists use fillings to restore a tooth damaged by decay. Usually, fillings don't cause any pain. If one becomes loose, however, it could cause you discomfort. This is because the tooth material under the filling is sensitive to pressure and air.
If you suffer from pain as a result of a loose filling, it's important you make an appointment with your dentist. He or she will apply a new filling to your tooth during a simple procedure.
Tooth pain isn't something to smile about. It usually means you have tooth decay and need to change your oral hygiene habits. You can prevent tooth pain by making small changes to your oral health routine: brush more often, floss and eat healthily.