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What Does Tooth Nerve Pain Feel Like

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Signs Of Dental Nerve Damage

What has dental pain been described as feeling like?

If youre experiencing a toothache, nerve damage could be the culprit. Nerve damage can develop suddenly as the result of an injury or gradual enamel erosion. Even for mild pain, contacting your dentist is recommended, as the pain is unlikely to resolve itself. You may require more intensive treatment down the road if you dont respond to the onset of nerve pain. What does nerve damage feel like? The signs of nerve damage include:

  • A dull ache near the gum line
  • Discomfort when eating
  • Pain following exposure to hot or cold temperatures
  • Acute pain targeting a single tooth
  • Pain that radiates throughout the mouth

All tooth or gum pain is a reason to reach out to your dentist.

What Symptoms Relate To Toothache And Swelling

Toothache can start suddenly. It can cause pain and discomfort that ranges from mild to very severe. The pain can be constant, throbbing, or it may come and go. It can also affect your head, ear and jaw.

If you have toothache, you may also have:

  • swelling around your tooth and inside your mouth
  • swelling of your jaw and face
  • pain when chewing
  • bleeding from your tooth or gums
  • sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet food

Signs That You Have Nerve Damage Of Your Tooth

Teeth. What would we do without them? Theyre used for chewing, talking, smiling, and are a vital element of a good first impression. Well looked after teeth indicate a clean and healthy person, whereas unclean teeth signify the opposite.

Inside each tooth is tooth pulp. Tooth pulp consists of nerve endings, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The pulp has several important functions including relaying sensory information, the formation of dentin in response to trauma, and nourishment. When tooth pulp is damaged, it begins to break down and bacteria can begin to rapidly multiply.

This excess of bacteria can cause nerve damage in your tooth.


Severe and persistent toothache pain may be present when the nerve endings of a tooth are damaged. Pain when chewing or when pressure is applied should be investigated as this indicates the nerve endings of your tooth perceive an internal pressure.


A swollen gum, particular around a particular tooth is a sign of nerve damage. Healthy gums are typically shades of pink or light red, whereas colours of dark red indicate inflamed or sensitive gums. Swelling is most prominent right where the tooth meets the gum, and often the gum can begin to cover parts of the tooth.


Gumboils are small bumps or pimples that appear on the gum above teeth. Persistent or reoccurring gumboils can indicate nerve damage. Probing with your tongue or using a mirror are easy ways to discover if you are at risk.

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Symptom: Lingering Pain After Eating Hot Or Cold Foods And Liquids

Possible problem: This probably means the pulp is inflamed and/or dying, and may be irreversibly damaged usually as a result of deep decay or physical trauma.

What to do: See your dentist or endodontist to diagnose the problem before the pain becomes severe due to the development of an abscess. The tooth will likely need root canal treatment to remove the dying or dead pulp tissue to save the tooth.

Basic Parts Of The Tooth

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Our tooth is made up of two parts the visible part called the crown and the hidden part known as the root. Extending between the crown and the root is the pulp, a soft tissue containing life-giving nerves and blood vessels. The tooth has three layers of protection: the outer layer known as enamel, the dentin that is connected to the pulp and the cementum that protects the root. Any damage to these layers, particularly exposure of the dentin will cause tooth sensitivity and nerve pain.

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Gentle Root Canal Treatment

To help save your smile, gentle dentists will use common methods to ensure a relaxing experience. You can think of getting a root canal as you would any other type of routine dental treatment. If your tooth needs it, dont delay. Your dentist will help you get out of pain.

Do This If You Are Experiencing Any Of These Signs You Need A Root Canal

Common Causes Of Nerve Pain In Teeth

When dentin is damaged or exposed, our teeth become sensitive to abrupt changes in temperature, pressure and certain types of food. Some of the common causes of nerve pain in the teeth include the following:

  • Dental caries or cavities are permanent holes in your teeth caused by acid-forming plaque, due to excessive consumption of sugary foods and poor oral hygiene. The deeper the cavity grows within the protective layers of your teeth, the bigger the risk of getting toothaches and bacterial infection.
  • Cracked tooth syndrome is a dental condition involving invisible cracks or fractures of the enamel, which causes localised pain when biting chewing or drinking.
  • Teeth grinding or bruxism is the involuntary clenching or gnashing of teeth, often while sleeping, which results in pain and teeth sensitivity.
  • Gum disease is a bacterial infection affecting gums, tissues and bones surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis or the more serious gum infection known as periodontitis may also cause pain.

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Q& a: Advice From A Dentist

Question: Do you usually need a crown on a tooth that has a root canal?

Rothschild: No, I do not believe a crown is always necessary after a root canal. It often is the restoration of choice for posterior teeth such as molars and bicuspids, as opposed to a filling. This is because of the greater structural demands for chewing function with molars and bicuspids. Teeth treated with root canals are structurally weaker after a root canal.

Anterior teeth may often be restored with a composite filling instead of a crown after a root canal, if the tooths structure is largely intact and it is deemed aesthetically acceptable.

Question:What determines whether your general dentist or an endodontist treats your root canal?

Rothschild: That depends largely upon the general practitioners comfort level with performing root canals.

Many general practitioners prefer not to perform endodontics. Others will treat anterior teeth only, which generally are much easier than molars and even bicuspids.

Kenneth Rothschild, DDS, FAGD, PLLC, has 40 years of experience as a general dentist and is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry and Seattle Study Club. Hes been awarded a fellowship in the academy, and hes completed mini residences in prosthodontics and orthodontics.

What Causes Tooth Nerve Pain

How to Know If Your Tooth Pain Is an Emergency

The two major causes of tooth nerve pain are Pulpal Sensitivity and Dental Sensitivity.

  • Pulpal Sensitivity: When there is trauma to the pulp of only one tooth, it may lead to pulpal sensitivity. That also means that the pain would only occur in one tooth. These damages to the pulp include tooth infections, cracked or chipped tooth or damaged dental restorations. People who grind their teeth habitually can be victims of pulpal sensitivity. Over time, the enamel would erode, and it wont be strong enough to keep the inner teeth structure safe.
  • Dental Sensitivity: Unlike pulpal sensitivity, dental sensitivity affects several teeth or the entire mouth. The leading cause is weakened enamel. The enamel can get weak due to various factors. People experiencing teeth grinding, broken and chipped teeth are at a higher risk of developing dental sensitivity. The pain can become worse when they eat or drink hot, cold, acidic, sugary, and sour foods or drink.You should also know that constant teeth whitening, especially bad teeth whitening products, can weaken your enamel. Besides dental sensitivity, teeth infection is another problem because germs can easily penetrate a soft enamel. That is why you should only get teeth whitening from a dentist.

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Symptom: Constant Severe Pain And Pressure Swelling Of The Gum And Sensitivity To Touch

Possible problem: A tooth may have an infection/abscess that has spread from the pulp into the surrounding periodontal tissues and bone.

What to do: See your dentist or endodontist immediately. A root canal will probably be required. Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen will help minimize symptoms until you are treated.

Don’t wait for the pain to get worse.

Note in the above examples, possible problems and solutions are suggested but they only provide possible guidelines. In all cases of tooth or jaw pain or discomfort in and around the teeth and jaws, see your dentist as soon as possible for a proper evaluation and treatment. Your dentist may refer you to an endodontist for diagnosis and treatment, especially if the issue is related to a root canal problem. And if your pain has a medical component, your dentist or endodontist will refer you to a physician.

Contact Columbia Smiles Today

At our dental practice, we offer cleanings, exams, and a variety of other services. To keep your teeth and gums in good shape, practice good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly. If youre experiencing pain that you believe is caused by nerve damage, make an appointment to see our dentist today. Contact us at or visit us online to learn more.

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Common Treatments For Tooth Nerve Pain

There are several potential treatment options that may be used to help address your tooth pain as a result of nerve damage. The two most common dental procedures for dealing with tooth nerve damage are fillings and root canals.

  • Filling:A filling is the most common form of dental repair. With this type of treatment, the damaged tooth is filled with a dental cement or filling. During the procedure the area surrounding the tooth is numbed, the decayed part of the tooth is removed, and the filling is used to fill-in the damaged area. This will prevent external stimuli from aggravating the nerves surrounding the tooth.
  • Root Canal:This is a more intense type of dental procedure that is utilized when pain develops as a result of a severely decayed or damaged tooth. During this procedure, the damaged nerve is entirely removed, as is the pulp surrounding the damaged tooth, and then the area is cleaned and sealed. This will allow you to continue using your tooth as normal without the experience of pain.

Additional remedies for treating nerve pain includes using specialized toothpaste that is designed to reduce sensitivity. Regular dental hygiene is the best course for prevention of tooth nerve damage, as well as the best way to alleviate the early signs of pain.

How Do I Treat A Toothache At Home

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For temporary relief of a toothache, you can do the following:

  • Rinse with warm saltwater. Saltwater can loosen debris between your teeth, act as a disinfectant and reduce inflammation. Stir a ½ teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth thoroughly.
  • Rinse with hydrogen peroxide. A hydrogen peroxide helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water and rinse thoroughly. Dont swallow it.
  • Cold compress. For swelling and pain hold a cold compress of ice wrapped in a towel to the painful area for 20-minute periods. Repeat every few hours.
  • Pain medications. Over-the-counter pain medications can reduce pain and inflammation. NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can be used, or take acetaminophen if you cant take NSAIDs. Dont give a child under the age of 16 aspirin use Tylenol instead.

Natural or herbal treatments

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What Kills A Tooth Nerve

Causes of tooth abscesses include decay , gum disease, a cracked tooth, or trauma. When one or more of these conditions is present, bacteria have an opportunity to enter the tooth, infect the nerve tissue, and will eventually kill the nerves and blood supply to the toothessentially killing the tooth.

What happens if cavity gets to nerve?

If you have a cavity that has reached the nerve tissue, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms: Toothache when pressure is applied to the tooth. Tooth sensitivity to heat or cold. Discoloration of the tooth.

Can a dental injection cause nerve damage?

Prolonged and possibly permanent change in sensation due to nerve damage can occur after dental injections. Although the condition is rare, many practitioners will see this form of nerve injury during their careers.

How long does it take for tooth nerve to heal?

An irritated nerve Usually, the tooths outer layers the enamel and cementum protect the nerve from exposure. But fillings, especially deep ones, can get close to the nerve endings and cause irritation and uncomfortable sensations. As the nerve heals, the sensitivity will go away. This may take a few days or weeks.

How Long Can You Have A Cavity Before It Needs A Root Canal Treatment

Any time you feel pain, your dentist may rule out the need for a root canal. Hopefully, the source of pain is something small, like a cavity. Even that small cavity if left untreated can result in the need for a root canal, as with time the decay can spread into the nerve of the tooth. At other times, there may not seem like theres a problem at all Or it might seem as if the problem in your teeth went away, but in reality, the infection is lingering. A cavity can evolve into a painful condition requiring endodontic treatment in a matter of months.

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Sciatic Nerve Pain: Causes Symptoms And Treatment Options

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, running from the lower back all the way down the legs. Sciatic nerve pain, also known as sciatica, is a common condition that occurs when this nerve becomes compressed or irritated. Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain can vary depending on the underlying cause. However, the most common symptom is a sharp, shooting pain that radiates from the lower back and down the leg. This pain may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected leg. Sciatic nerve pain is often caused by a herniated disc, bone spur, or other degenerative changes in the spine. However, it can also be caused by pregnancy, muscle imbalances, or other conditions that put pressure on the nerve. If you are experiencing symptoms of sciatic nerve pain, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. In many cases, simple at-home treatments, such as ice and heat therapy, can help to relieve symptoms. However, more severe cases may require medication or surgery.

What Is Facial Nerve Pain

Endodontics | Pulp Biology and Tooth Pain | INBDE, NBDE Part II

Facial nerve pain is most commonly related to the trigeminal nerve, though we discuss some of the other more common causes below. Three branches of the trigeminal nerve are responsible for enervating various parts of the face. These include that:

  • Upper branch: Enervates the scalp, forehead, and front of the head
  • Middle branch: Enervates the cheek, upper jaw, top lip, teeth and gums, and the side of the nose
  • Lower branch: Enervates the lower jaw, teeth and gums, and bottom lip
  • Facial nerve pain is pain referred by these nerves to the brain from any of these areas.

    Atypical facial pain vs. trigeminal neuralgia is another story. Atypical facial pain travels the same route as trigeminal neuralgia but exhibits different characteristics.

    Also known as persistent idiopathic facial pain , this pain can be continuous and long lasting. Unlike the short bursts of pain that are typical of trigeminal neuralgia, atypical facial pain may be more of a burning, severe ache or crushing sensation in the affected areas of your face.

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    How To Treat Tooth Nerve Pain

    There a few things to do to treat your nerve pain effectively. The most important tactic see your dentist. They can give you an oral exam and determine where and how your pain is occurring. They’ll also recommend you to:

    • Properly brush your teeth, being sure not to erode your enamel
    • Use a soft-bristled brush
    • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth

    Don’t be nervous when your favorite foods make their way onto your plate. While food and drink give us nourishment, they also provide enjoyment. So be sure to see your dentist, stay up to date on your oral hygiene, and avoid those foods and drinks that cause nerve pain. If you can do that you got nerves of steel.

    The Pain Doesnt Go Away

    Like with most oral surgery requirements, if you need wisdom tooth removal, then the first major red flag is persistent sharp pain or throbbing pain as it may have become infected causing inflammation. You will notice that the actual tooth site is painful as well as the surrounding areas. Most peoples wisdom teeth start coming through in their late teens and as the rest of the teeth will already be there, the wisdom teeth are the ones that end up coming out at an awkward angle as there is no space for them. In some cases, an impacted wisdom tooth is accompanied by only minor pain, but you may notice your gums will swell in the surrounding area.

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    How Do I Get My Sciatic Nerve To Stop Hurting

    There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to stop sciatic nerve pain may vary depending on the individual and the underlying cause of the pain. However, some home remedies that may help include applying heat or ice to the affected area, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and performing gentle stretches or exercises designed to relieve tension in the sciatic nerve. If home remedies do not provide relief, it is important to see a doctor, as more serious conditions can cause sciatic nerve pain.

    Around 40% of the population will experience sciatic nerve pain in their lives at some point. Sitting for extended periods of time and being sedentary for an extended period of time are two of the most common causes of sciatica. Stretching your lower back and hips is a proven way to alleviate lower back pain. Dr. Amol Soin, MD can help you understand what is causing your pain in his office at Ohio Pain Clinic. Dr. Soin recommends physical therapy as a treatment for sciatic nerve pain. People who work from home are especially good at improving their posture. Neck pain can occur when your posture is poor or if you have chronic conditions such as arthritis.

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