Everyone has experience toothaches or gum pain in their life. Most of the time, these pains are short-lived and non-threatening to your overall dental health. Practicing good dental hygiene will prevent most of these pains and aches. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing regularly and keeping your dental visits are great ways to avoid larger issues. However, sometimes pain in the teeth or gums can be indications or warning signs that a bigger problem is brewing.
Here is some information on how to gauge when pain may mean it is time for a visit to the dentist:
Gum Pain and Bleeding
Healthy gums are pink, firm, do not bleed easily, and are not tender to the touch. Occasionally your gums may bleed if you brush your teeth and gums too hard, use a hard-bristled toothbrush, or snap dental floss hard against your gums. If you are experiencing pain in your gums, some causes could be:
Gingivitis – Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed. Because gingivitis usually doesn’t cause pain, many people delay treatment. If not treated, gum disease can cause more serious problems with the gum tissue.
Periodontitis – Periodontitis is severe gum disease and is caused by long-term infection of the gums, bone, and other tissues that surround and support the teeth. It can progress until the bones that support the teeth are damaged. In this late stage, teeth may become loose and fall out or need to be removed. Early treatment of gum disease is important to prevent the loss of teeth.
If you experience pain in your teeth when you touch a tooth or when you eat or drink, it is important to see a dentist. Moderate to severe sensitivity can mean a tooth has cracked, a dental cavity is present, or a filling has been lost. The most common cause of a toothache is tooth decay although a toothache may not be present in the early stages of decay. Other reasons for a toothache might include:
Infection – An infection of or around the tooth can present as a red, swollen, painful bump that may be found near or on the side of the sore tooth. The tooth may especially hurt when you bite down.
A broken tooth – A tooth that has not broken through the gum (impacted tooth). Gums may be red, swollen, and sore. The area around this tooth can ache, throb, and be quite painful.
Nerve Problems – Problems with or injury to the nerves in the center of the tooth (pulp), which can be caused by an injury to the face or from grinding or gnashing the teeth.
Teeth and gum pain can most often be easily preventable with proper dental hygiene and regular dental visits for check-ups and cleanings. However, if you are experiencing moderate to severe tooth or gum pain, seek the attention of a dental professional as soon as possible, to avoid larger dental issues.