If you or your child has dental pain, you may assume cavities are the most likely cause. However, there are many reasons people experience dental pain that do not indicate a larger dental issue. Here are some possible explanations for dental pain:
Surprisingly, sometimes serious dental discomfort may not have anything to do with your mouth! Blocked sinuses due to infection, allergies or illness will frequently manifest as tooth pain. Sometimes this pain is quite severe, but there is probably not much your dentist can do to help. If you suspect a bacterial sinus infection, consult your primary care physician about taking an antibiotic to resolve sinus pressure. You may also try over the counter decongestants and/or pain relievers to help the pain subside until your sinuses balance back out.
Sometimes excessive sensitivity to hot or cold can indicate cavities or injury to the tooth, but that’s not the most likely explanation for pain and sensitivity. Some of us just have more sensitivity prone teeth. If temperature sensitivity causes you excessive discomfort, toothpastes like Sensodyne that contain potassium nitrate may help lessen your sensitivity. You may also need to avoid very hot or very cold foods for a time until the sensitivity lessens.
We expect dental pain when infants teethe, but that’s not the only time that children may experience oral pain due to the formation of new teeth. Children may also get teething pains when loosing their baby teeth, as adult teeth push their way into the spot of the loose baby tooth. Additionally, adult molars form later in life in the back of the mouth around age 6-7 and again at 12-13. Later on, wisdom tooth eruption can cause pain as well, especially if there’s not enough room in the mouth to allow them to come in normally. Wisdom teeth usually begin coming in around age 17-21. Over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen can help with pain from erupting teeth.
Grinding or Clenching
For patients who habitually grind or clench their teeth, this could explain frequent toothaches. Clenching and grinding put your teeth and jaw under enormous pressure, which can lead to random toothaches or jaw pain, as well as dental caries, weakened tooth structure and other possible repercussions.
No one likes dental pain! Many times the source of a toothache can be fixed by your dentist, so if your child has excessive dental pain, call our office at 801-489-1301 to see one of our board certified pediatric dentists.