The various types of dental pain, their causes and possible remedies.

Dental pain consists of various problems originating from teeth and its surrounding areas, toothache being the most common of all. This article explains the different types of dental pain, possible causes and temporary relief measures.

Let us first have an overview of the different types of dental pain and what they may mean.

Different types of dental pain ​

1. Sensitivity to temperature change

Sensitivity which triggered when consuming cold food & drink or sweet stuff.

This sensitivity, whether mild or intense, usually tends not to last for an extended period and is experienced only during the instant of contact with cold and sweet food or drink. 

2. Mild persistent pain

This pain is constant and nagging. This kind of pain tends to be dull and usually happens after meals. It may be caused by food lodged between the teeth or something stuck in the gums.

3. Sharp pain

This pain can be triggered by biting or chewing and may be transient or lingering.

4. Severe, throbbing pain

This intense pain can occur without any trigger. It is a constant pain that affects sleep and at times accompanied by headaches. Usually, this pain would last for hours, and worse at night. Painkillers may only offer temporary relief.

Possible causes of dental-related pain

Dental pain or toothache can be primarily from tooth decay, dislodged fillings or issues such as a crack in a tooth. It can also be from the gum. Below are the most common pain types and the possible causes.

Tooth Sensitivity

Caries, exposed dentine secondary to tooth wear and receding gum can cause sensitivity during consumption of cold and sweet food or beverage.

dental pain

Pain from a cracked tooth

Pain from a cracked tooth is usually sharp and is triggered by chewing or consuming hot and cold beverages. This sharp pain can be transient or lingering depending on the severity of the crack.

Pain from a infected tooth

A tooth with pulpal infection can present with intense throbbing pain which is spontaneous and affecting sleep. Severe crack on the tooth, gross caries can result in pupla infection.

Pain from supporting tissue ​

A tooth with pulpal infection can present with intense throbbing pain which is spontaneous and affecting sleep. Severe crack on the tooth, gross caries can result in pupla infection.

Non-Dental Related Pains​

Non-dental-related pain usually is vague and tends to be difficult to localise.
Examples of non-dental related pain:

Sinusitis​

A sinus infection or inflammation is typically called sinusitis. Sinusitis symptoms can be felt like flu symptoms. Inflammation and swelling in the sinuses can cause pressure and blockage that leads to facial pain and sensitivity of upper molar teeth. 

Pain from Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Temporomandibular disorders are disorders of the temporomandibular joints, and the muscles that are involved in jaw movement. This pain may be worse in the morning upon waking up. It may feel like headaches, pain or tension at the lower jaw area and at the base of the neck. It is typically caused by nocturnal clenching or grinding and can be related to Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB).

Medical conditions

Non-dental pain can also stem from severe medical problems like vascular disease or even a brain tumour, nerve disorders or neurological disorders eg. trigeminal neuralgia that mimic dental pain. This pain is also called referred pain. 

An ischemic heart attack can also mimic dental pain. Pain can be felt at the left side of the shoulder and radiate to the left side of the lower jaw and mimic toothache.

When should you be concerned?

Any sensitivity, discomfort or any dental pain that does not go away in a few days, needs attention. Therefore you should see your dentist for proper diagnosis and early management.

Temporary measures until you see a dentist

  1. Take anti-inflammatory (painkiller) medication for temporary pain relief.
  2. Gentle rinsing with saltwater or mouthrinse may offer temporary relief to gum related pain.
  3. Application of a warm pack may reduce discomfort of muscle origin.

This information gives you an insight to dental pain (toothache ), the common causes and temporary pain relief measures you can take until you see your dentist.

Temporary measures until you see a dentist

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