Common Dental Symptoms
Symptom: Momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods.
Possible problem: If this discomfort lasts only moments, sensitivity to hot and cold foods generally does not signal a serious problem. The sensitivity may be caused by a small decay, a loose filling or by minimal gum recession that exposes small areas of the root surface.
What to do: Try using toothpastes made for sensitive teeth. Brush in small circular motions with a soft brush; brushing sideways wears away exposed root surfaces. If this is unsuccessful, see your general dentist. If the sensitivity is coming from a decay you should see your general dentist.
Symptom: Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment.
Possible problem: Dental work may inflame the pulp inside the tooth causing temporary sensitivity.
What to do: Wait two to four weeks. If the pain persists or worsens, see your general dentist.
Symptom: Sharp pain when biting down on food.
Possible problem: There are several possible causes of this type of pain: decay, a loose filling or crack in the tooth. There may also be damage to the pulp tissue inside the tooth.
What to do:See a dentist for evaluation. If the problem is pulp tissue damage, your dentist will perform a procedure that cleans out the damaged pulp and fills and seals the remaining space.
Symptom: Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods.
Possible problem: This probably means the pulp has been damaged by deep decay or physical trauma.
What to do: See your dentist to save the tooth with a root canal treatment.
Symptom: Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum and sensitivity to touch.
Possible problem: A tooth may have become abscessed, causing an infection in the surrounding gingival tissue and bone.
What to do:See your dentist for evaluation and treatment to relieve the pain and save the tooth.
Symptom: Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw.
Possible problem: The pain of a sinus headache is often felt in the face and teeth. Grinding of teeth, a condition known as bruxism, can also cause this type of ache.
What to do: For sinus headache, see your physician. For bruxism, consult your dentist.
Common Myths or Misunderstandings:
Myth —Root canal treatment is painful.
Truth—Root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it.
Most patients see their dentist when they have a severe toothache. The toothache can be caused by damaged tissues in the tooth. Root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, thereby relieving the pain you feel. The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago when root canal treatment was painful. But with the latest technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.