Nothing can upset a regular day like tooth pain, especially if it comes out of the blue. But because there can be different kinds of oral pain, as well as a variety of reasons for the pain in the first place, it can sometimes be difficult to know what you should do.
If the thought ‘My teeth hurt’ is currently running through your head, but you’re not quite sure what sort of issue you’re dealing with, this article is for you. We sat down with a few dentists across the US to find out the differences in tooth pain, what might cause specific aches and pains, and the right course of action to take.
The Different Kinds of Tooth Pain
“Teeth pain can be generally categorized into three different types: sharp pain, dull pain, and pain upon chewing” said Dr. Nancy Ahn, a New York-based dentist.
“Dull pain is a common type of toothache,” Ahn said. “Although dull pain is mild, it can impact a patient’s daily mood and routine.” According to Ahn, dull pain can be caused by many factors, including grinding and clenching of teeth.
When it comes to pain upon chewing, Ahn says this is typically associated with a cracked tooth or loose filling.
Tooth sensitivity can sometimes cause a sharp pain while eating ice cream or drinking a hot beverage. It’s usually a direct and immediate response from one’s teeth. According to Ahn, if the response to the sudden temperature change endures for longer, mean that there's damage to tooth's nerve.
What to Do About Tooth Pain
If you’ve been noticing temporary tooth sensitivity that seems to be directly caused by eating or drinking hot or cold foods, your dentist may recommend a tooth desensitizing toothpaste like Sensodyne. Sensodyne Rapid Relief toothpaste has a unique formulation with stannous fluoride that beats sensitivity pain fast*, providing significant sensitivity relief in just three days.
“Generally speaking, you should at least consult your dentist if you're experiencing any pain in the mouth,” said Dr. Kevin Castleberry, a dentist based in the Wisconsin area. “Pain is your body's way of saying, ‘Something isn't right here!’”
“I will say the most common pain or sensitivity issue I see that's ‘normal’ is following dental procedures,” Castleberry continued. In this case, time is usually your best friend. The pain will usually subside with time (sometimes days or weeks). If you're ever in doubt, though, consult your dentist.”
*With twice daily brushing