Here’s a not-so-fun fact: there are several different types of toothaches. Sometimes it may hurt to chew, other times it may hurt when you drink something cold. With all the different varieties of tooth pain that are possible, it’s hard to know which kinds of toothaches warrant calling an emergency dentist. Read this guide to find out what your tooth pain might mean.
Intermittent “Jabbing” Pains
Does your discomfort feel less like an ache and more like a sharp, seemingly random pain? More often than not, this kind of pain happens in response to a stimulus, whether that be opening your mouth or eating or drinking something particularly hot or cold. This type of toothache might be caused by a crack in the tooth, a cavity, or a serious infection known as an abscess. Whatever the case may be, you should call your emergency dentist.
Do you notice a sharp pain when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages? If so, you might be dealing with a case of sensitive teeth. In serious cases, even breathing in cold air can result in severe discomfort. Try using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If that doesn’t work, you might be brushing your teeth too hard. Also, if your sensitivity occurs primarily in one tooth, you may have a deep cavity that requires emergency treatment, like root canal therapy.
Dull Nagging Toothache
This is the most common type of toothache, but its persistence can be really annoying. A dull toothache can usually be managed by taking over-the-counter painkillers, but that should not be a substitute for dental treatment. This kind of toothache is most commonly seen in people who grind their teeth.
Pain Only When Eating
If your tooth hurts only when you chew, it might be due to a cavity or fracture within the tooth. Schedule an appointment with your emergency dentist as soon as you can. The longer you put off treatment, the more frequently and severely your tooth might start to hurt.
Pain at the Back of the Jaw
Although not as common as the rest of the types of toothaches, pain at the back of your jaw is usually a sign of an impacted wisdom tooth, which has failed to erupt through the gumline. This issue should be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could develop an infection in your wisdom teeth, resulting in further pain.
While many people believe that a minor toothache is normal from time to time, the truth is that it’s anything but. Teeth don’t just hurt for no reason. If any of the types of toothaches described above sound familiar to you, you’re better off contacting your emergency dentist as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Ernie Costello is a graduate of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry. He has completed additional post-graduate training in endodontics, or root canal therapy, which is a fairly common treatment used to treat severe toothaches. If you’re suffering through any of the types of tooth pain listed in this blog post, feel free to contact Dr. Costello for emergency treatment at (847) 259-1111.