Do you know how to differentiate between different kinds of dental pain? Dental pain is not the same for everybody; the type of pain you feel depends on the damage that is triggering it. For example, the pain you may feel when you crack a tooth is different from what you may feel due to decay. Here are three examples of dental pain, and what you should suspect on each occasion:
Throbbing or Achy Pain
Constant teeth grinding (bruxism) will give you aches in different parts of your face. You may develop a headache, an earache and a jaw ache. Therefore, you should suspect a case of bruxism if the pain is achy and throbbing in these areas, but the gums aren't swollen. This is particularly true if it is accompanied by other symptoms of bruxism such as increased teeth sensitivity, chipped teeth and tongue indentations.
Lingering Pain Triggered By Hot or Cold Food
You may also have a dental pain that only kicks in when you eat a cold or hot food. If you experience such pain, and it lingers for some time after the triggering food or drink, then you are probably dealing with teeth damage that has reached the pulp.
The pulp is the central part of your tooth that consists of connective tissues and cells. It is sensitive to heat and cold sensations. Hot or cold foods and drinks will only reach the pulp if the outer layers of the tooth, such as enamel and dentin, have been damaged. Consult a dentist as soon as possible so that the damage does not extend to the roots and necessitates root canal treatment.
Sharp and Consistent Pain
Sharp tooth pain is usually linked to decay or cavities, especially if the pain increases when you bite down on anything. The pain originates from the damaged tissues deep within your teeth – damage that has been caused by bacteria feeding on food remains. Tooth decay doesn't go away on its own so you should suspect that this is the case if your sharp tooth pain is consistent or recurrent. If you have orthodontics, then the sharp pain may also mean that something is wrong with your dental work.
These are just pointers to help you know what may be wrong with your tooth. They may help you to decide whether to seek emergency treatment or to schedule an appointment with your dentist. For professional diagnosis, consult a dentist like Stephen P. Cary, DMD who will also prescribe the appropriate treatment for your case.