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TOOTH PAIN GUIDE

Momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods.

Possible Problem:
If the discomfort lasts only moments, sensitivity to hot and cold foods generally does not signal a serious problem. The sensitivity may be caused by a loose filling or by minimal gum recession which exposes small areas of the root surface.

What to do:
Try using toothpastes made for sensitive teeth. Brush up and down with a soft brush; brushing sideways wears away exposed root surfaces. If this is unsuccessful, see your general dentist.
Tooth pain

Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment.

Possible Problem:
Dental work may inflame the pulp, or nerves, inside the tooth, causing temporary sensitivity.

What to do:
Wait four to six weeks. If the pain persists or worsens, see your general dentist.
Tooth pain

Sharp pain when biting down on food.

Possible Problem:
There are several possible causes of this type of pain: decay, a loose filling or a crack in the tooth. There may also be damage to the pulp tissue inside the tooth.

What to do:
See a dentist for evaluation. If the problem is pulp tissue damage, your dentist may send you to an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists who specialize in pulp-related procedures. Your endodontist will perform a procedure that cleans out the damaged pulp and fills and seals the remaining space. This procedure is commonly called a "root canal."
Tooth pain
Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods

Possible Problem:
This probably means the pulp has been damaged by deep decay or physical trauma.

What to do:
See your endodontist to save the tooth with root canal treatment.
Tooth pain
Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum
and sensitivity to touch.


Possible Problem:
A tooth may have become abscessed, causing the surrounding gum and bone to become infected.

What to do:
See your endodontist for evaluation and treatment to relieve the pain and save the tooth. Take over-the-counter analgesics until you see the endodontist.
Tooth pain

Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw.

Possible Problem:
The pain of a sinus headache is often felt in the face and teeth. Grinding of teeth, a condition known as bruxism, can also cause this type of ache.

What to do:
For sinus headache, try over-the-counter analgesic or sinus medicine. For bruxism, consult your dentist. If pain is severe and chronic, see your physician or endodontist for evaluation.
Tooth pain

Chronic pain in head neck or ear.

Possible Problem:
Sometimes pulp-damaged teeth cause pain in other parts of the head and neck, but other dental or medical problems may be responsible.

What to do:
See your endodontist for evaluation. If the problem is not related to the tooth, your endodontist will refer you to an appropriate dental specialist or physician.
Tooth pain

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