DENTAL PRACTICE in Clifton, Union & Bridgewater

Tooth pain and sensitivity


There are many reasons you may experience tooth pain and sensitivity. Tooth pain is caused by the nerve of the tooth or surrounding area becoming irritated. There are several reasons why this may happen and result in you experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity. First, it’s important to understand that the root of your tooth pain can only be correctly identified by a dental professional. Furthermore, even if your tooth pain is manageable, it can be indicative of a much larger, and more serious underlying issue. While this list can help you understand common reasons why many experience tooth pain, this should not be used to diagnose your own. It’s important to always consult your dentist with any concerns that you have. 


TMJ Dysfunction


Among the most common causes of pain in the mouth is TMJ Dysfunction. Your TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is the connecting joint on either side of your jaw that allows your jaw bone to connect to your cheek bone. The TMJ joints can be felt on both sides of your face in front of your ears. These joints work as a hinge that assists in chewing and speaking. TMJ dysfunctions are common and result from the muscles and ligaments becoming inflamed and irritated. As a result, this can cause chronic pain ranging from mild to very severe. TMJ Disorders, although they originate from the jaw, can cause tooth pain and can even impact your ability to chew. Other common symptoms of TMJ Disorders include:



-Neck pain

-Shoulder pain

-Difficulty opening mouth 

-Difficulty chewing 

-Face swelling 

-Tooth pain

-Aching pain in jaw

-Locking of jaw joints


TMJ disorders can be diagnosed during your dental check-up where an X-ray may be taken to determine the extent of the issue. Fortunately, TMJ disorders are treatable as well and in most cases do not require any invasive treatment or surgery. 


Sinus Issues 


It’s true and more common than you’d think — sinus issues such as infections can cause tooth pain. Your sinuses are located very close to your sinus cavity which in turn, can affect each other. When your sinuses become infected, the symptoms you experience may feel similar to that of a toothache. Other common symptoms of Sinus infections include: 

-Runny noise

-Facial pain 

-Sinus pressure


-Sore throat


Sinus infections can be very serious as they can easily spread to other parts of the body if not treated properly. This is why it is important to learn the proper cause of your pain if you’re experiencing a toothache.   




A cavity is another common cause for a toothache. A cavity is a decayed area that can form a hole in the tooth and range in size and severity. Without proper treatment for a cavity, bacteria that causes tooth decay will continue to spread until it reaches a nerve, bone or gums. A common symptom of a cavity is tooth sensitivity, occasional tooth aches that may go away for some time, difficulty chewing and intense pain. Cavities can be caused by poor dental hygiene and a diet high in processed sugars. While there are many at-home treatments that can ease the pain of cavities, such as a saltwater rinse, the best treatment to remove the cavity and stop all discomfort would be determined by your dentist.  

Learn some of our tips for maintaining great dental hygiene here.


Teeth Grinding


Bad dental habits such as teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, can lead to poor dental health. Among the negative impacts to your dental health that grinding your teeth can have, teeth grinding can cause pain from the stress and deterioration to your teeth and jaw. Teeth grinding is often a habit that people do unconsciously and it can be brought on or worsened by factors such as stress and anxiety. Aside from general pain, teeth grinding can result in: 



-Jaw pain 

-Facial pain


-Tooth loss

-Tooth Decay

If you grind your teeth, there are many treatment options that can ease your pain and help prevent further dental problems. First, taking steps to lower or eliminate your stress may reduce the severity of your teeth grinding. Speaking to your dentist about receiving a mouth guard which will prevent teeth grinding when sleeping is often the best treatment option for patients.


Acidic Diet


If you only seem to experience painful tooth sensitivity when you eat or drink, the cause may be what you’re eating or drinking. In fact, drinks and foods high in acidity are harmful to your teeth overtime. This includes beverages containing lemon, energy drinks and soda or foods containing acidic fruits such as tomatoes. This is because the enamel that covers and protects the surface of your teeth can erode with consumption of acidic foods and drinks overtime. In addition, this can result in exposing the tooth’s dentin which surrounds the nerve. As a result, this can create a painful sensation that can worsen and impact your ability to comfortably eat and drink certain foods. If left untreated, this can lead to the development of cavities, an abscess or even tooth loss in extreme cases. Other signs that may indicate that acidic foods and drinks are the cause of your sensitivity and tooth pain include: 

-Sensitivity to hot and cold air 

-Sensitivity to hot and cold food

-Discoloration of teeth

Reducing the amount of acidic foods and drinks that are in your diet can be the best treatment for high acidity-causing tooth sensitivity. Moderating acidic foods and switching them out for more alkaline foods, or foods low in acidity, can be very beneficial to help preserve the health of your tooth enamel. There are other dental products that can reduce tooth sensitivity on the market as well. However, visiting your dentist is always the best idea to alleviate any tooth pain or sensitivity as they will be best equipped to determine the cause of your issue and treat it accordingly. 

Tooth sensitivity or pain can be caused by a plethora of reasons. Even if you believe you’ve determined the cause of your pain, and your symptoms fit one of those detailed in our list, it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be something potentially more serious. This list only covers the most common causes that we see from the patients that come into our dental office. While tooth pain and sensitivity may seem like a minor issue, we always recommend that anyone experiencing any form of pain, even if it’s minor, should come in and see a dentist. Preventing more severe and more costly dental treatments is always in your best interest. 

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