You’re so confused. First of all, you have excellent oral hygiene. You brush your teeth at least twice a day, never miss a day of flossing, and greatly limit your sugar intake. In addition, you visit your dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning twice a year and you were just there. At this visit you got a clean bill of health: there were no signs of cavities or decay, and your dentist gave you two thumbs up on your dental hygiene. So why have you recently been experiencing a toothache?? While a cavity is usually responsible for any sort of pain or discomfort in the mouth, there are other reasons you can experience a toothache. Let’s look at four possibilities for a toothache when it’s NOT a cavity.
- Sensitive Teeth: While teeth sensitivity is also a sign of a cavity, if your dentist has already determined you don’t have a cavity, you may simply have sensitive teeth. Your teeth can become more sensitive to very cold or very hot foods and beverages when the inner layer of your tooth is exposed. Usually protected by the hard outer layer of the tooth, called enamel, the inner layer of the tooth is much more sensitive. If you know you don’t have a cavity but are experiencing sensitive teeth, call your dentist. She may be able to give you some helpful tips such as using a different toothbrush or helping you change the way you brush your teeth.
- Teeth Grinding: If you’re experiencing discomfort all over and not just in one area of the mouth, you may be grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding often happens at night when you don’t even know you’re doing it, and pain or discomfort can be the first way you notice it. Headaches and sore jaws are also telltale signs of teeth grinding. Your dentist will be able to help you identify teeth grinding and give you some possible treatment options.
- Cracked Tooth: A cracked tooth often happens when you bite down on something hard and it can cause extreme tooth sensitivity and pain. Pay special attention to this if you are experiencing sharp or throbbing pain because this could mean you have an abscess. An abscess is a sac of pus in your gums caused by a bacterial infection and can be very serious if it spreads to your mouth or neck. Call your dentist immediately if you think you have a cracked tooth.
- Sinus Infection: While uncommon, sinus infections have been known to cause severe toothaches. Especially if you’ve already been diagnosed with a sinus infection by your doctor and you are only experiencing pain in your upper teeth, it is very likely that your pain is caused by the sinus infection. The good news if your toothache is caused by a sinus infection is that the pain should go away once your sinus infection clears up.
While cavities are often responsible for teeth pain, there are other possibilities. To be sure, the only way to know for sure what is causing your discomfort as well as to find the right treatment is to make an appointment with your dentist right away. If you’re looking for a dentist to help you find what’s causing your toothache, we would love to help you at Cornerstone Family Dentistry, so please make an appointment with us today!