On occasion, we may all feel a fleeting pain in our tooth or our gums. As long as the pain seems to come and go quickly, with no other signs that there is a problem, we can usually forget the pain ever existed. But when a pain lingers, it’s usually a sign that there is some underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Tooth pain should not be ignored, and anyone who has ever had a toothache can attest to the fact that it’s pretty hard to ignore the pain even if you want to. The first course of action if you experience pain that doesn’t quickly dissipate is to schedule a visit with your dentist. Rather than trying to wait it out to see if the pain eventually goes away (which it typically won’t), your best bet is to have your dentist take a look in your mouth to determine what may be causing you pain.
In some cases, all that is needed is a visual inspection by your dentist to determine the cause of pain, but more often than not, an x-ray is needed to see what is going on beneath the surface. A simple x-ray can alert the dentist to any signs of decay or other problems and can provide the necessary information so that proper treatment can be recommended.
If you’re lucky, the x-ray will uncover some minor decay which can easily be addressed by having the dentist remove the decay and fill the tooth. Dental filling procedures, although not the most pleasant experience in the world, are easy to perform and often can quickly do the trick of stopping any further tooth decay. The good news is that dental patients can now opt for tooth-colored porcelain fillings so the new filling will not even detract from the look of the smile.
For those who have let the pain go on untreated for some time or have not routinely visited the dentist, decay may be more extensive than what can be rectified with a simple filling. If the decay has spread into the root of the tooth, a root canal procedure may need to be performed to remove the decay and halt any potential infection from developing or spreading. Once this is done, the tooth may then need a dental crown to provide the extra support needed to keep the tooth properly functioning and healthy. A crown may also be used if too much of the tooth’s surface needs to be removed due to extensive decay, even without the need for root canal therapy.
In some cases, the pain you are feeling in your tooth may uncover a problem that is more extensive than can be fixed with any of the above procedures. Pain may indicate breakage of a tooth or decay that is so extensive that the tooth cannot be saved, or it may be the result of injury to the tooth that requires the removal of the tooth. If this occurs, you may need to have a tooth extraction performed, a procedure in which the entire tooth, including the root, is removed from the jawbone. Tooth replacement will then be necessary and there are a number of options to consider that can replace an extracted tooth.
As you can see, the sooner you can address tooth pain and get to your dentist, the more likely that you will be able to address the situation with a less invasive, less uncomfortable and less costly procedure than if you ignore the pain in the hopes it will go away as the problem gets worse. So at the first signs of tooth pain, it’s best to call your dentist.
For more information about tooth pain and what to do when your tooth hurts, call Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.