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18 Oct 2022

Why You Should Never Ignore Dental Pain

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Pains in your teeth or gums can often come on at inconvenient times. We all live busy, stressful lives, and finding the time to go to the dentist is never easy, less so, sometimes, is the motivation for actually seeking treatment. For that reason, it’s often easier to try and ignore the pain and see if it gets worse or goes away on its own. 

Dental pain doesn’t happen without good reason. If you’re in pain or discomfort now, there is a very strong possibility that it’ll get worse. Getting the issue checked out by your dentist is always the best action.

It’s easy to think of our teeth in isolation from the rest of our bodies, but they’re connected. Issues affecting your oral health could have a knock-on and cause issues elsewhere. 

Here’s why you should never ignore dental pain. 

You May Have a Cavity

A build-up of bacteria around your teeth can cause the surface of your teeth to break down. As bacteria feed on sugars and starch in your diet, acid is created. This gradually erodes the tooth’s enamel until a hole eventually appears. 

Cavities are fairly common. You may experience sensitivity as they form, particularly when eating or drinking. In many cases, cavities come with pain. 

Whether you’re only experiencing sensitivity or mild discomfort, it’s important to make an appointment to see us. If spotted early enough, a cavity can be easily repaired with a simple filling. 

You May Have a Chip or Crack

Bacteria isn’t the only thing that can damage the surface of your teeth. Although enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it can crack or become chipped through trauma, clenching, grinding, or biting something hard like a pen or ice. 

Chips and cracks might ruin the look of your teeth, but they do so much more. Not only will you experience some discomfort from the actual damage, but the area where the tooth is broken also becomes a gateway for bad bacteria. Sooner or later, the bacteria will go further into your tooth and cause even more damage. 

Damage to your tooth must be addressed early. Again, repairing your tooth at this stage is usually straightforward. 

You May Have Worn Enamel

Despite how tough the enamel in your tooth is, the acid in our food and bacteria can wear it down. Thin enamel leads to sensitivity, particularly to hot and cold drinks. 

Fluoride can help strengthen your enamel. But without intervention, your teeth will succumb to decay quickly. 

You May Have Disease or an Infection

Untreated cavities and cracks can cause the inner parts of your tooth to become infected. Inside every tooth, there’s something called a pulp chamber. This houses all of the living tissue of the tooth, known as ‘dental pulp’.

The pulp chamber is where your nerve endings are, so when an infection reaches here, the pain is often severe. As this pain worsens, so will your sensitivity to temperature. The throbbing sensation can sometimes be felt around the gums. 

As your dental pulp extends into your root canals, this infection will spread further. 

As long as we treat you quickly, we can remove the infected pulp and restore your tooth. In many cases, we’ll cap a tooth with a crown following root canal treatment. 

Your Tooth May Have Died

Left untreated, infections affecting the living portion of your tooth will cause necrosis. A dying tooth will cause considerable pain. You may have difficulty eating, and the discomfort may make speaking difficult. Often, a necrotic tooth will start to change colour. It may eventually turn black. 

A dead tooth cannot be saved. The best course of action is extraction. After an extraction, you may choose to replace the tooth with a bridge or implant. 

You May Have an Abscess

If the pain in your tooth is ignored for too long, you will develop an abscess. An abscess is a severe health problem that could cause critical issues elsewhere in your body. 

Trapped bacteria cause an abscess under the root of your tooth. At this stage, it’s important to act fast. Your abscess can harm your jaw and the neighbouring teeth. Extreme inflammation from your mouth can restrict your breathing. 

If the bacteria from the abscess enters your bloodstream, there’s an increased risk of spreading to other parts of your body. A particular concern is that the abscess could quickly reach your heart, and inflammation could impact its ability to pump blood, increasing the fatality risk. 

If we get to an abscess early enough, we can provide you with antibiotics and drain it. 

You May Have Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Your gums may appear redder than normal and feel swollen or sore. You may also experience some bleeding, particularly while brushing your teeth. 

Like your teeth, your gums are also affected by bacteria. Build-ups of tartar at the edge of your teeth could cause irritation and inflammation when they touch your gums. 

Although common, gingivitis shouldn’t be ignored. The good news is that treatment is easy. Book in to see our hygienist for professional cleaning, and we’ll help you make the initial steps to better gum health. From there, making improvements in your oral hygiene routine will help. 

You May Have Periodontitis

Left to its own devices, and gum disease worsens. Givititis eventually turns into more severe periodontitis. At this point, in addition to the symptoms of gingivitis, pockets start to form around your teeth, and they become loose. 

As periodontitis progresses, you may lose teeth, and eventually, the infection spreads to your jaw, causing deterioration. This harms the foundation of your entire smile. 

Treating periodontitis is about damage limitation. Prevention is always the most effective way of avoiding the harm this disease causes, and the number one route to this is to not ignore the pain. 

Don’t Ignore Your Dental Pain

A mild toothache, sore gums, and sensitivity to temperature should not be ignored. Your dental pain might be mild now, but don’t put off treatment. 

At our Cheam, Chessington, Stonecote, and Sutton clinics, our friendly team of experts are here to monitor your oral health and provide advice and treatment. 

Call today to book a checkup or an appointment with our dental hygienist. 

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