We understand how the thought of seeing a dentist inspires feelings of discomfort and even fear. Who looks forward to spending time in a chair while a hygienist or dentist pokes inside your mouth? People tend to associate dental visits with pain, but it’s important to know that if you practice good home care and approach appointments as preventative treatment, going to the dentist doesn’t have to be a painful experience.
That said, there will be times in your life when you feel tooth pain. How do you know what to treat at home and when to see a dentist? We’ve put together a short survey of possible causes. If the type of pain you feel isn’t listed here, please contact us today at 757-412-2235 to make an appointment with Dr. Fasano’s dental practice in Virginia Beach.
What Causes Dental Pain?
Possible origins of dental tooth pain include cavities, cracked tooth syndrome, periodontal disease, or T.M.D. (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders).
Cavities are a bacterial infection of your teeth. They occur when certain bacteria strains such as Streptococcus mutans digest sugars and other carbohydrates left in your mouth after eating. This process creates acid plaque that causes your tooth enamel to soften and break down, and therefore create cavities.
A good way to reduce the amount of plaque in your mouth is to brush thoroughly twice a day and to floss daily. Limit the amount of high-carb and sugar-rich foods and drinks in your diet, especially low ph beverages, and schedule twice-yearly dental checkups.
Remember, the combination of high sugar and low ph creates a perfect storm of tooth decay.
In our high stress world, we see some patients who consciously or unconsciously clench and grind their teeth. This can lead to cracked tooth syndrome. Symptoms include:
- Intermittent bite sensitivity
- Generalized hot and cold sensitivity
- Constant pain in the area of the cracked tooth
Cracked tooth syndrome may be easily treated with a customized night guard, fabricated right in our Virginia Beach dental office using materials made in the U.S. In certain advanced cases, however, the tooth may need a root canal and/or a crown. Dr. Fasano can give you an exam to determine the best option for your teeth.
This condition affects the jaw and related facial muscles. Parafunctional habits associated with non-functional mandibular movements is a very scientific way to say:
- Teeth grinding
- Nail biting
- Thumb sucking or pacifier use
- Gum chewing
- Mouth breathing
Symptoms of TMD may include:
- Pain in muscles of mastication and TMJ
- Painful clicking/popping/grating when opening and closing your mouth
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Changes in the way your teeth “fit” together
Treatment of TMD varies widely based on cause, so it is best to contact us and make an appointment if you have any of these symptoms.