If you have tooth pain, you can use the chart below to give you some idea
as to what the source of the pain might be. Bear in mind, though, that
the intention of this chart is not to diagnose your pain; only our Houston dentist can do that.
When you contact your dentist regarding your tooth pain, it's important
that you be as thorough as you can in your explanation of the pain—how
severe it is, when you feel it, where it's located, and whether any conditions
make it better or worse. That way, your Houston dentist will have a sense
as to the urgency of your problem.
You feel a sharp pain when you bite down.
Decay, a cracked tooth, or a loose filling can cause sharp pain in your
tooth when you bite. You could also have an dental infection inside the
pulp layer of your tooth; this is where the nerve exists.
A dentist should evaluate the tooth that's causing your discomfort to determine
the source of the pain. If you have an infection within the pulp of your tooth,
you will need root canal therapy to remove the infected tissue and seal off the
space to prevent further infection.
You have severe pain, pressure and swelling in your mouth that does not go
It is possible that you have an abscess, which is an infection in the tooth
and/or gum and bone tissue.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever until you can see our Houston dentist
or endodontist (a specialist who treats injuries, diseases and infections
of the tooth pulp) to evaluate and treat the infection.
Your upper teeth and jaw ache, but the pain is not sharp or severe.
You may have a sinus headache or a sinus infection. Sinus pain can
"travel" to the upper jaw because of its proximity to the sinus
Also, grinding your teeth (a condition called bruxism) can also cause a dull
ache in the upper jaw, due to pressure on the temporomandibular joint (the
Your physician can determine if the pain you are feeling is from a sinus
infection, and can prescribe medication, if necessary. Over-the-counter pain
relievers and sinus medications often are very effective in reducing sinus
If your pain is due to bruxism, see our Houston dentist for treatment recommendations.
You have pain in your head, neck or ear that does not go away.
Damaged or infected pulp tissue in your teeth can cause pain elsewhere in your
head. However, there may be other medical or dental causes for the pain.
Problems in your temporomandibular joint (the TMJ) can also cause this type of
See our Houston dentist, who can tell you if the problem is tooth-related,
or if it would be more appropriately treated by a physician. Your dentist
can also diagnose
any dysfunction that may be occurring in your TMJ and identify your treatment
options for correcting it.
After you receive dental treatment, your teeth are sensitive to heat or cold.
Temporary tooth sensitivity is normal after dental treatment, as it often
disturbs the nerves within the pulp layer.
The pain should subside within four to six weeks. If it doesn't, or if
it worsens, be sure to contact our Houston dentist.
You suddenly feel some discomfort in your teeth when they're exposed to heat or
cold, but then it goes away.
Slight sensitivity that only lasts a few moments usually means you have a loose
filling, or a portion of your gums is pulling away slightly from your tooth,
exposing a bit of the root surface. An exposed root surface usually results in
You can try a toothpaste that is created especially for use on sensitive teeth;
allow a week or two for it to begin easing the sensitivity. Also, be sure to
use a soft toothbrush, and brush up and down in little circles to avoid
damaging your gums. If you make these changes in your oral hygiene routine and
the sensitivity persists, contact your dentist for an appointment.
After you eat something hot or cold, you have lingering pain in one or more
Your tooth is likely damaged by either deep decay or a fracture to the tooth.
See your dentist as soon as possible. It is likely that you will need a crown
or root canal therapy to save your tooth.
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Sensitive teeth: the causes and treatment options
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