Diagnosing the Cause of Tooth Pain

February 23, 2016 — by Kenneth W. Coffey, DDS
Tags: Restorative Dentistry

Man holding the side of his mouthLiving with tooth pain can be extremely uncomfortable. Every basic oral function, from chewing, to drinking, to speaking, places some type of pressure on the teeth. If a tooth is already suffering from tooth pain or heightened sensitivity, these basic functions can increase that discomfort even further. The only way to eliminate this pain for good and restore oral comfort is to diagnose the most likely cause of tooth pain. Once that is determined, Dr. Kenneth W. Coffey can offer appropriate restorative dentistry treatments to enhance the strength of the tooth and eliminate tooth pain. Dr. Coffey is happy to discuss some of the most common causes of tooth pain with Orland Park, IL patients. Dr. Coffey will examine the mouth to determine the specific source of the discomfort. This is the first step toward renewing the strength of the smile and restoring oral comfort for good.

What Causes Tooth Pain?

Most commonly, tooth pain is a result of inflammation around the tooth and gums, or exposure of the sensitive inner layer of the tooth. However, there are several dental complications that could weaken the protective layer of tooth enamel (therefore exposing the tooth’s nerves) and cause inflammation. Below are some of the most common oral health problems that are likely to cause tooth pain and increased tooth sensitivity:

  • Tooth decay: As bacteria eat away at healthy tooth enamel, the inner tooth becomes vulnerable. While minor cases of decay may not cause significant discomfort, as decay progresses, tooth pain is more likely to occur.
  • Tooth erosion: Tooth erosion is similar to decay in that it describes a general breaking down of healthy tooth enamel, and, therefore is likely to leave the inner tooth more exposed, which can cause tooth pain and increased sensitivity. However, unlike decay, which is caused by a buildup of bacteria, a high level of acids in the mouth causes this condition.
  • Oral injury: Any injury to the mouth can cause inflammation and pain. An injury that damages the tooth in any way, such as a chip, crack, or fracture, is even more likely to cause tooth pain, since this can expose sensitive tooth nerves.
  • Root canal infection: A root canal infection describes a collection of bacteria in the inner area of the tooth, where the pulp of the tooth exists. The bacteria infect the nerves and tissues at the center of the tooth and can cause significant inflammation and pain.
  • Gum disease: Gum disease is essentially an infection of the gum tissues. This is a progressive condition that may not initially result in noticeable symptoms. However, as the condition becomes more advanced, it is likely that the gums will become swollen and tooth pain will develop.

Treating Tooth Pain

Because there are so many conditions that can lead to tooth pain, it is important to see a dentist as soon as discomfort develops. Dr. Coffey can examine the teeth and gums to determine the most likely cause of tooth pain and sensitivity. Dr. Coffey can then recommend a restorative dental treatment that is most appropriate for each patient’s unique circumstances so that he can improve the patient’s oral health, and restore their comfort and well being.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are suffering from tooth pain, it is likely a side effect of a more serious oral health problem. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kenneth W. Coffey at your earliest convenience so you can address this problem and restore full oral functions and comfort.

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