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5 Causes of Tooth Pain (and When You Should Seek Help)

Toothaches have plagued human beings for hundreds of thousands of years. Even in the ancient world, we see signs that early dentists sought to find remedies for tooth pain. Today, you have a lot more options available to you, if you have a toothache, than people did back then! You don't have to suffer long-term pain. With today's dental expertise, we can repair your painful problems, and have your mouth feeling as good as new.

Toothaches can be hard to pin down, as pain can be felt around your mouth, in your head and neck, or in your sinuses. At Pacific Coast Smiles of Santa Maria, California, our experienced care team is here to support you with your tooth pain. Here are some of the leading causes of toothache pain, and what you can do to get to the root of the problem.

1. Tooth decay

The exterior structure of your teeth, their enamel, can be eaten away by tooth decay. If you have tooth decay leading to a large cavity, you may experience shooting or stabbing sensations of pain as your nerve becomes exposed. You'll need dental treatment to get a filing placed to protect your tooth structure.

2. An abscess

If you develop a bacterial infection inside the pulpy material at the center of your tooth, pain and other symptoms like swelling, fever, redness in your gums, and pus can let you know that you need treatment. Seek emergency dental treatment right away for treatment of an abscess.

3. Cracked or damaged teeth

A cracked or chipped tooth can quickly become very painful! You may also feel pain if you have damaged dental work, like a slipped filling or a cracked crown. Make an appointment to get your damaged teeth repaired, and use at-home methods like pain-relieving medications, heating, icing, and saltwater rinses to keep yourself comfortable if you can't get in to the dentist right away.

4. Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw

If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, under pressure or just as a habit, you can wear down your teeth and end up in pain. Often, you grind your teeth at night, when you don't even know you're doing it. Wearing a nightguard can help you relax your mouth overnight. You may eventually still need treatment for worn-down teeth.

5. Trapped food or debris

If you have even small amounts of food or debris trapped in between your teeth, it can cause gum irritation and tooth pain. Be sure to floss multiple times daily. You may need to floss after eating some foods, as well! With good preventative oral hygiene, you can often keep tooth pain from becoming a serious problem.

No matter the cause of your tooth pain, the Pacific Coast Smiles team is ready to help. You can schedule your initial consultation appointment with a member of our compassionate care team by calling our offices, or book with the online tool.

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