General dentistry treats many dental issues, including dental discomfort. There are several common sources of dental discomfort. You might have pain or irritation in the mouth and not be sure what is causing it. Your dentist can discuss your symptoms and perform an exam to identify potential causes. Here are some common sources of dental discomfort and a few ways you can address the issues.
Abscess or decay
One of the most common causes of dental discomfort is tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria build up between teeth or along the gumline and damage the tooth enamel. Eventually, the bacteria can enter the inner part of the tooth and cause decay. This exposes the sensitive nerve, which causes discomfort. Another potential problem is when an abscess develops. This is a pocket of infection around a tooth that can spread and cause infection in the jawbone if not treated in time.
Cracked and chipped teeth
While chips in a tooth are usually easy to see, cracks can be below the gumline and therefore invisible to the person feeling discomfort. Chips and cracks can cause enhanced sensitivity to cold and hot food, drinks, and even air. These conditions expose the middle layer of the tooth, known as dentin, to air. Chips and cracks can also be deep enough to allow bacteria to enter the tooth so that a cavity forms, leading to further discomfort.
Trauma and injury
A common source of discomfort comes from oral trauma or injury. Anytime something bumps a patient’s mouth, it can cause discomfort. The more serious the injury, the more intense the discomfort. In severe cases, the trauma can break a tooth or knock it out completely. General dentistry considers these situations to be an emergency, so patients should call the dentist as soon as possible. Losing a tooth due to trauma can be very painful.
Many people wake up in the morning with sore jaws or even a headache. It is possible these people are grinding their teeth during the night and may be completely unaware. General dentistry can often spot the wear on teeth that indicates a person is grinding. Since many people cannot control the grinding during sleep, the dentist will often create a mouthguard that reduces the discomfort and the tooth wear. If teeth grinders do not wear the mouthguard, continued grinding can crack the teeth and lead to cavities or even root canals.
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General dentistry treats dental discomfort
The goal of general dentistry is to diagnose and treat your dental discomfort. You must discuss any discomfort or pain you feel with your dentist, even if you think it is not a big deal. There are many other reasons why you may be feeling discomfort. The dentist will discuss your symptoms and also do a thorough exam to identify potential causes for your discomfort. Many sources of dental discomfort are common, but the dentist can ensure you are receiving the correct treatment for the cause of your pain.