The Common Reasons and Remedies for Sore Teeth
Do you have tooth pain that doesn’t seem to be going away? Read on to learn more about the common reasons and remedies for sore teeth.
Tooth pain is never fun. A toothache can range from a dull ache that comes and goes to a persistent severe throbbing. According to many mothers, that latter type of pain is worse than giving birth.
Sore teeth have many causes, but one thing’s for sure: when you have tooth pain, you want it gone—fast! Here are some of the most common reasons for achy teeth and what you can do to get relief.
One of the most common causes of toothache pain is a deep cavity that has reached the tooth’s pulp. This is the inner portion of the tooth where the nerves and part of the blood supply reside, so you can understand why exposing this area can be very painful.
When a cavity is small, it usually doesn’t cause any pain or any other symptoms. But if left untreated, it can get larger over time. If it gets deep enough to reach the pulp, bacteria will enter the area and can create an abscess, which is a pus-filled infection.
It’s very important to see a dentist if you’re experiencing any kind of toothache, even if it seems mild or leaves. A tooth infection is a dangerous situation because the bacteria in your mouth can easily travel to other parts of your body in the bloodstream, causing more infection and serious illness. Believe it or not, an infected tooth can kill you.
If the decay is not so bad that the aching tooth needs to be extracted, a dentist will usually perform root canal therapy. This involves removing the decay, the pulp, and the blood vessels and infection from the roots of the tooth. Then they’ll fill the entire tooth and reinforce it with a crown.
Cracked or Broken Tooth
A crack or chip in a tooth can cause pain, especially if the fracture has left the pulp exposed. Clenching or grinding teeth or biting into hard foods such as popcorn or candy can cause tiny cracks that can worsen over time.
Again, you should see your dentist so they can access the damage and fix the tooth before it gets worse.
If you get a sharp, shooting pain in a tooth or several teeth when you eat or drink hot or cold food, you may have sensitivity. The cold and hot temperature changes can travel along channels in your tooth’s dentin to the nerves, causing temporary pain.
There are many causes of tooth sensitivity. The enamel on your teeth may be getting worn, or you may have dental work that makes it easier for temperature fluctuates to irritate a tooth. Gum disease and receding gums can make teeth more sensitive.
Teeth whitening can also cause sensitivity and front tooth pain if you overdo it. It’s a good idea to visit a dentist to rule out any cavities or cracks in the teeth.
If you don’t have any major dental problems, your dentist will most likely recommend a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. It helps coat and protect vulnerable areas so hot and cold foods and beverages can’t irritate the nerves as much.
In rare cases, a sinus infection can put so much pressure on the teeth it can feel like you have a toothache. Your dentist can examine your teeth and mouth to determine if it’s a dental issue causing the pain.
A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection. In the meantime, you may find relief by taking an OTC decongestant.
Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, can cause tooth sensitivity and soreness. Most people are unaware that they’re doing it as they grind their teeth in their sleep, although you can also sub-consciously do it while awake.
Bruxism can lead to cracks and chips in the teeth and further dental problems. Your dentist will be able to tell if you’re grinding your teeth. The most common treatment is wearing a dental guard while sleeping to help protect the teeth, although finding ways to relieve stress can help prevent teeth grinding.
How to Relieve Tooth Pain
Make an appointment to see a dentist as soon as you’re experiencing tooth pain. In the meantime, there are a few home remedies which may bring temporary relief for sensitivity and throbbing. Try any of the following until you can visit a dentist:
Clove Oil: Clove oil has long been known to soothe pain. Try soaking a cotton swab in clove oil and placing it in the cavity or dropping a drop or two into the decayed area.
Salt Water: Rinse the sore tooth with a warm salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon salt mixed in a glass of water.) Salt is a natural disinfectant.
Hydrogen Peroxide: Just like salt water, you can try rinsing the tooth with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution. Take care not to swallow it.
Over-the-Counter Painkiller: Take an over-the-counter painkiller such an ibuprofen to help deaden pain and minimize any swelling, especially if you have an infected tooth.
OTC Oral Anesthetic Gels: These provide temporary relief by numbing exposed nerve areas. Use as directed on the packaging to help ease pain.
Peppermint Tea: Rinse the area with brewed peppermint tea that’s been allowed to cool to room temperature, or place the soaked tea bag directly onto the tooth.
Cold Compress: A cold compress or a bag containing ice or frozen vegetables may ease pain from an abscess. Wrap the bag in a dishtowel so you don’t get frostbite from holding it up to your face.
How to Prevent Tooth Pain
The best way to prevent tooth pain is to properly care for your teeth. Brush them twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss them daily. Avoid eating hard foods such as nut brittle and ice cubes which can damage teeth.
Visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up so they can catch and fix any small dental problems before they turn into bigger, painful ones.
Make Sore Teeth a Thing of the Past
You don’t have to have a cavity to experience tooth discomfort. No matter the cause, the good news is a dentist can treat sore teeth, so you never have to deal with the pain again.
For more tips on keeping your smile and the rest of your body happy and healthy, check out our other health posts.