Tooth nerve pain can go from a small ache to a sudden sharp jolt—and experience that’s unbearable to some. Often a result of an exposed tooth root, tooth nerve pain can be brought on by particular foods, drinks, and even while brushing and flossing. Here’s what you need to know to help stop the discomfort, prevent further tooth sensitivity, and when to see your dental professional.
The nerves in the teeth are located in the pulp—the bundle of nerves and 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 the damaged 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 (the outermost layer of the tooth) is damaged or eroded away resulting in exposed dentin tubules or channels. These tubules connect to the nerves in the pulp. External stimuli such as heat, cold, and acid, stimulate these tubules resulting in sensitivity. 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 pain, there are several possible dental procedures that can solve the problem. Two of the most common procedures for tooth 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, your dental professional numbs the area, removes the decayed material, and replaces it with a filling.
- Root Canals: A root canal is performed if the 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.
In some instances, the tooth decay may have progressed too far and an extraction may need to be performed. To prevent toothaches caused by decay and reduce your risk of tooth loss, it’s best to follow a thorough oral care routine of twice daily brushing and flossing at least once a day. If you experience tooth pain, be sure to visit your dental professional right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.
The area near your tooth 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, Oral-B Glide Deep Clean Floss, and Oral-B Glide Comfort Plus for sensitive gums.
If your tooth pain is a result of a teeth whitening procedurę consider trying a whitening method that does not cause sensitivity like Crest Whitening Emulsions. The breakthrough formula features highly active peroxide droplets in a water-resistant hydrating base to protect teeth from sensitivity. Plus, it swipes on in seconds and delivers a brighter smile, fast.
To maintain a healthy smile, it’s also important to focus on the tooth’s enamel. As enamel demineralizes, your smile can become more vulnerable to sensitivity and tooth decay. Crest Pro-Health Densify Daily Protection Toothpaste rebuilds surface tooth density every time you brush to extend the life of your teeth by remineralizing enamel.
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