Do you have a toothache or increased tooth sensitivity? Tooth pain can range in severity from annoying to debilitating. Since sensitivity and pain can be indicators of serious dental problems, patients should schedule a routine general dentistry appointment, during which the dentist will check for infection, disease, and decay. If patients experience a sudden onset of sharp pains in a single tooth, they should schedule a visit with the dentist as soon as possible. Patients who experience an increase in sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks over time should note that the discomfort is worsening and discuss it with the dentist at their next appointment. At the Knoxville practice of Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., DDS, we offer tooth pain treatments. We will first diagnose the cause of your tooth pain, and then recommend the appropriate course of treatment.
Cavities are areas of decay within the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth. In most cases, cavities do not cause any pain, especially when they are in their early - and most easily treatable - stages. As the cavity worsens, patients may experience sharp pains in the affected tooth. To treat the cavity and the pain, the dentist can clean the tooth and remove any diseased tooth structure, and then place a tooth-colored filling.
2. Tooth Erosion
Tooth erosion is a condition in which the surface enamel of the tooth begins to wear away. Tooth erosion is common in older patients, as daily pressure placed on the teeth slowly erodes the enamel. This condition can also be accelerated when patients consume highly acidic foods and drinks, have GERD or acid reflux, or grind the teeth. As the enamel on the tooth wears away, patients experience increased tooth sensitivity, especially when exposed to hold or cold temperatures. Patients should avoid foods and drinks and habits that cause tooth erosion, use a sensitive formula toothpaste, and brush with a soft-bristled brush. If erosion is severe, dental restorations can be placed on the teeth.
3. Root Canal Infection
A root canal infection is caused when a cavity is left untreated, allowing decay to reach the root canals of the teeth. The root canals contain pulp and nerves. When these tissues become infected, it can cause intense pain. To treat a root canal infection, the pulp and nerves are removed from the canals, and the canals are sealed with a durable dental material. A crown may be placed to support and protect the tooth.
4. Exposed Roots
If a patient’s gums have receded, the roots of the tooth may be exposed. The roots are far more sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks, and are more vulnerable to decay. In cases, of exposed roots, patients may require a gum graft.
5. Loose or Damaged Dental Restorations
When dental restorations such as fillings and crowns become loose, cracked, or otherwise damaged, it can result in tooth pain. A dentist can remove the old restorations and replace them with new, custom fillings or crowns.
To schedule a dental exam, contact the practice of Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., DDS.