Should I Be Worried About a Toothache?
Are you experiencing pain in a tooth? Like pain when you eat or drink, or an ongoing ache? There are many times when we can experience pain in our teeth, but not all symptoms may indicate a serious problem. Should you be worried about a toothache? Let’s look at the different symptoms, possible problems, and urgency of repair.
Teeth Sensitive to Temperature
When you eat or drink something hot or cold, do you get a shooting pain sensation in a tooth? Does the pain or ache linger for 30 seconds or more or go away quickly? These are questions your dentist might ask. Most commonly, temperature sensitivity is caused by erosion of the gums or heavy enamel wear that exposes the root. This type of pain can be minor, and recedes quickly. Try to stick to temperate foods and drink and see if the pain subsides over the next week. Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
You should be more worried about temperature sensitivity if the pain is acute or the ache lingers. This can indicate serious tooth decay, a tooth fracture or gum disease. Let your dentist know if you have this type of pain.
A Sharp, Jabbing Pain in a Tooth or the Jaw
When you experience sharp pain in your teeth, it usually indicates that the tooth has been traumatized in some way. It could be broken or cracked, the root could be exposed, or a filling or crown may have come loose or been compromised. The sooner you see your dentist, the less likely this will turn into a more serious problem.
A Dull Ache in the Jaw or a Tooth
If you are feeling a dull ache in your jaw or in one particular tooth, pay attention to its severity, how long it lasts, and whether the pain throbs or comes in waves. Let you dentist know what you are experiencing and whether you notice the pain more in one particular tooth or overall. If the gums are inflamed, you could have debris stuck between the tooth and gum. Floss and see if that helps. If the pain is in the jaw, you might be grinding your teeth and your dentist can recommend a night guard.
If the pain is constant and severe, it may indicate an abscess in the tooth, an infection in the tooth’s root. This should be taken care of immediately.
Intense Pain in the Jaw or a Tooth
If you experience any intense pain, contact your dentist immediately. This is likely an indication of a serious problem like an infection or broken tooth. Look for other signs like bleeding gums, gum discoloration, appearance of pus, a tooth that feels loose or soft, or pain while chewing. Because the root of a tooth is quite sensitive, an infection can cause severe pain. Without treatment, tooth loss is possible, and the infection could spread.
Contact Advanced Family Dentistry, Your Reston Family Dentist
If you are wondering if you should be worried about a toothache, it is better to be safe and check it out rather than risk a more serious problem later on. At Advanced Family Dentistry, we’ll be glad to schedule you into our office for a toothache exam, or fit you in for an emergency visit if necessary…even if you’re not already a patient of ours. Our goal is to get you out of pain and smiling again.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.
Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191