We wish it weren’t the case, but it’s a fact of life: a lot of patients only think about going to the dentist when they start to experience pain. Pain can sometimes come on suddenly, but it can also be a slow build. Have you experienced pain in your mouth and just decided to deal with it? There is some mouth pain that you can manage on your own, but there is other pain that may warrant a call or a visit to your local dental practitioner.

Sensitivity Pain

Ever watch a little kid bite a popsicle and think to yourself, “Ouch! That would absolutely make my teeth hurt!” Perhaps you’ve eagerly taken that first sip of hot coffee first thing in the morning and felt a bit of a jolt? Heat and cold sensitivity is a common symptom among patients. Sweet and acidic foods can cause the same sensation. Sensitive teeth can result from a number of reasons and can be a symptom of a larger problem. The pain may be caused by erosion of enamel, your tooth’s protective outer layer, exposing the inner tissues of your tooth to contact with foods you eat and drink.

If your pain is momentary (dissipating quickly after heat/cold has passed), your condition may be only minor and manageable with a desensitizing toothpaste. Brushing with a soft or extra-soft brush, using a desensitizing toothpaste, and flossing regularly may well reduce your sensitivity pain. However, if your pain remains sharp and persistent over time, or gets worse, your sensitivity may be the sign of something more serious. We suggest you schedule an appointment to see your primary dental practitioner.

Gum Pain

Pain in your gums, especially if your gums are swollen or bleeding, may be a sign of something serious. Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is an infection of the mouth that can result in tooth loss if it is not treated. Despite a regular dental routine that includes professional maintenance, there are some people who are more susceptible to gum disease than others. Other risk factors, including a high-stress lifestyle, certain medications, smoking and habits such as teeth grinding may also cause gum disease in some people.

If you experience symptoms such as red, swollen or tender gums accompanied by bleeding after brushing or flossing, it’s time to pay a visit to your dentist. Gum disease isn’t just serious for your oral health, it can also be a sign of other systemic concerns such as diabetes.

If you are experiencing gum pain that is more focused on one particular area and comes with sensitivity to the touch, you may have an abscessed tooth. When decay results in infection of the pulp of a tooth, the infection can spread through the root and into the gums, resulting in swelling and pain. An abscessed tooth must be evaluated by a dental professional who will likely refer you to an endodontist for cleaning and restoration.

Tooth Pain

The more classic scenario for tooth pain comes from the sudden, jarring sensation of pain that comes when a patient bites down on a piece of food. This is usually the sign of significant decay, a crack in a tooth, or some other exposure and damage to the pulp tissue. While numbing the sensation may lend temporary relief, you must see a dentist to have the tooth evaluated and fixed. Depending on the extent of the concern, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist for deeper restorative work.

Pain matters. It’s designed to call your attention to an issue you need to take care of. We know it’s disruptive, but we also know that it’s important. If you are experiencing pain in your mouth, take a moment to evaluate it and then consider getting it checked out by your dental professional. Being proactive about your pain can make a difference in your treatment and the life of your tooth.

Live in the Boston area and experiencing mouth pain? We’re here to be a supportive member of your dental team. Call us with your questions and concerns so we can get you on the right track back to good oral health.

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