The nerves in the teeth are located in the pulp—the bundle of nerves at blood vessels at the center of the tooth. Nerve pain in teeth falls into two categories:
- Pulpal Sensitivity: If you have nerve pain that is focused on one individual tooth, the problem is likely affecting the tooth pulp. Causes of nerve pain in teeth that affect the pulp include a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth, tooth decay or infection, a recent tooth filling, and pressure from clenching or grinding your teeth.
- Dentinal Sensitivity: Dentinal sensitivity refers to nerve pain in the teeth that is more widespread. This type of nerve pain in teeth occurs when the tooth enamel is damaged or eroded away and external stimuli such as heat, cold, and acid, reach the nerve endings in the dentin layer of the tooth. Causes of dentinal sensitivity include use of teeth whitening products, receding gums, and untreated cavities. In addition, brushing the teeth too hard and recent gum surgery that exposes the tooth roots can cause nerve pain in teeth.
Depending on the cause of your tooth nerve pain, there are several possible dental procedures that can solve the problem. Two of the most common procedures for tooth nerve pain are fillings and root canals.
- Fillings: If you have tooth nerve pain caused by a simple cavity, a filling is the most common dental repair. When you have a tooth filled, the dentist numbs the area, removes the decayed material, and replaces it with a filling.
- Root Canals: A root canal is performed if tooth nerve pain is due to a tooth that is severely infected or decayed. During a root canal, a dentist removes the damaged nerve and the pulp from inside the tooth, cleans the area, and seals it. The nerves inside teeth are not essential for healthy tooth function, and a root canal will cure some types of tooth nerve pain.
The area near your tooth nerve pain may be sensitive before or after your dental procedure, but it’s important to follow a regular oral hygiene routine to prevent additional tooth decay or disease. Try using oral care products designed for sensitive mouths, including Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield Toothpaste and Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Floss for sensitive gums.
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