How Do I Know If Tooth Pain Is Serious?
Any type of ongoing tooth pain usually means something isn’t quite right. But does that mean every toothache requires a visit to your dentist in Douglasville? The short answer — probably. However, if your pain lasts for 2 or more days, isn’t reduced with painkillers, and is paired with swelling or a bad taste in your mouth, you need to get to a dentist.
Understanding Different Types of Tooth Pain
Different types of tooth pain could indicate different types of problems, and it’s important to know what various feelings could mean. Being able to explain your pain to your dentist in Douglasville can help find the underlying cause and get you treated and out of pain quickly. The following pain descriptors are to be used for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose any problem. Always see your dentist.
Dull, Chronic Ache
A constant, dull ache is the most common type of toothache and could be a sign of anything from a piece of food lodged in your gums or between your teeth to an abscess. This type of pain can also be a sign of tooth grinding. If not treated, grinding your teeth can lead to broken or chipped teeth and TMJ disorder. You may be able to get relief by gently flossing your teeth to remove a leftover food particle, but if that doesn’t work you should see your dentist for a more thorough evaluation.
A lot of people have sensitive teeth, and sometimes it’s managed well by using the right toothpaste and regular cleanings. But extreme sensitivity to hot or cold things may also be a sign of something more serious. Tooth sensitivity that doesn’t go away after about 30 seconds could indicate gum disease, tooth decay, worn enamel, or fractured teeth.
Constant throbbing tooth pain can be a major distraction and keep you from doing other things such as working productively and sleeping. If it doesn’t go away it may be a sign of a cracked tooth, dying nerve, abscess or other infection, or an oral lesion. Call your dentist to find out and get relief.
A sharp, stabbing pain always requires a visit to your dentist and will most likely require some sort of restorative dentistry treatment. Sharp pain could mean you have a cavity, a cracked or broken tooth, or you have an old dental restoration such as a crown or filling that needs attention.
As we mentioned before, any type of tooth pain typically means something isn’t right and you should see your dentist in Douglasville for an exam, diagnosis, and treatment plan sooner rather than later.
Pandemic Stress & Oral Health Problems
As we head into the one-year mark of this pandemic, there are still several unknowns. But one thing has remained constant the whole time — stress levels are high, and rightfully so. Stress isn’t the best thing for health, especially at times like these. Prolonged periods of high stress can put us at increased risk for heart disease, actually make our immune systems less effective, and cause some unwanted gut problems. That’s not all. Dentists have also noticed an increase in oral health problems the past year, including this dentist featured in the New York Times. In today’s blog, your dentist in Douglasville explores some ways how stress can affect your oral health.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
You know how your body reacts kind of automatically when you’re stressed out? Maybe you start to sweat even though you’re not hot. Or perhaps your heart starts beating so fast it’s all you can hear. These and other subconscious reactions happen, and they’re not always so obvious. In fact, sometimes we don’t even notice that our body reacted at all. One great example of this is when we grind or clench our teeth. Many times we’re not even aware that we’re doing it, but it can certainly cause trouble. The constant pressure of teeth on teeth during clenching or grinding can cause tooth damage such as chips, cracks, or breaks and will require treatment from your dentist in Douglasville.
Unfortunately, the problems with clenching and grinding don’t end with damaged teeth. These repeated motions over and over again can start to cause jaw pain as the muscles in the jaw joint are overworked. If this happens over a long period of time, this can develop into TMJ disorder, and the pain can become severe and lead to other problems such as headaches, neck pain, and difficulty chewing.
Now, besides the problems associated with clenching and grinding, there’s also the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissue and is usually caused by poor dental hygiene or tobacco use. However, stress may also increase the risk of developing gum disease. Your dentist in Douglasville can treat gum disease if it’s caught early, but if the disease becomes more severe it also becomes irreversible. Untreated advanced gum disease can cause tooth loss and increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and some cancers.
It’s important to note that scientists have yet to determine one absolute cause of canker sores. But research conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry suggests a possible correlation between high levels of stress and the development of canker sores. Even though these painful bumps may be a little bit painful and a lot bit annoying, they’re not contagious or dangerous and should go away on their own.
Lower Your Stress, Lower Your Risk
We know it’s hard to lower your stress levels, especially nowadays, but we can’t stress enough just how important it is to try different ways to live as stress-free of a life as possible to lower your risk of health problems. Some ways to reduce stress include:
- Getting Enough Sleep. We need to sleep in order to recover and keep our bodies functioning properly. Aim for 8 hours a day and follow a regular routine of waking up at the same time every day.
- Exercising Every Day. Whatever your exercise of choice is, try to do it every day. Hop on a bike. Go for a walk. Do some high-intensity interval training. Just get sweating. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins which can decrease stress and keep us healthy.
- Breathing It Out. Meditation has been used for centuries as a stress-reduction tactic. Find a quiet space, focus on your breath, and clear your mind to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and help you relax.
Everyone is different, but try to find a stress-reduction technique that works for you and practice it every day. Your body, mind, and overall health will thank you for it.