For those of you who’ve taken a sip of coffee or cold water and experienced shooting pain emanating from a tooth, you know only too well how a tooth can behave when it’s not happy. From aching for hours after biting into food to sending sharp pain up the side of the head when exposed to sudden changes in temperature, when a tooth becomes hyper-reactive to stimuli (pressure and temperature) the nerve is revealing its discontent and may require immediate attention.
Why Do Teeth Ache?
In certain situations we would expect teeth to ache a little, such as after extensive dentistry has been completed on a tooth. After a dental appointment, a tooth may feel sore for a day or two, depending on the type of procedure completed, but this usually settles down after a few days and doesn’t require more than a little ibuprofen to help with any discomfort. Another reason a tooth may ache is in cases of trauma where a tooth has sustained a knock or impact. A tooth that has had a trauma obviously will ache after the initial impact or fracture because the tooth is in need of treatment. Once treated, it’s normal for the tooth to still be a bit achy for a week or two. The soft tissues and bones are still healing, but a patient should note a gradual improvement to discomfort with each day. Finally, a tooth may ache because it’s infected and the nerve (pulp) of a tooth is dying. The pain and discomfort associated with a tooth that is infected can be extreme. Infected teeth can wake a person at night, and they react sharply to pressure (biting) and hot and cold temperatures. Seeing a dentist as soon as possible is highly recommended when these signs and symptoms are present.
Treating an Infected Tooth
An infected tooth rarely, if ever, heals itself. Unlike a periodontal infection that impacts gum tissue and ligaments, an infection within a tooth is the result of the nerve of the tooth dying. This nerve death release gases within the tooth, and discomfort can be expected as the dying nerve reacts to external pressure and temperature. Pressure pain can also be due to an abscess at the tip of a root – which causes pain with downward pressure. Treatment is the only remedy to control discomfort and destroy the infection.
A tooth that aches and hurts in response to temperature or pressure is bad news. It could mean your tooth sustained an injury or is infected, and either way, it’s important to talk with your dentist. Do you have a toothache that doesn’t seem to be getting better? Contact Bow Trail Dental today at 403.240.1257