Tooth nerve health is essential. You use your teeth every day, from smiling to chewing to talking. Teeth are an integral part of your everyday life, and because of this, they’re prone to injury. When you damage a tooth, it usually causes tooth nerve pain and interrupts your daily life.
Anatomy of a Tooth
Teeth are pretty cool. Many of us think of them as solid bits of calcium in our mouths that can’t feel anything, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Each one of our teeth has multiple layers that help them stay healthy so you can chew your favorite foods while your teeth remain secure in your mouth. Though the outer layer provides protection with calcified enamel and doesn’t have nerve endings, the inner layers are complex systems that provide nutrients to the tooth and help sense hot and cold.
Every tooth has four layers made of three hard tissues and one soft tissue. At the center of the tooth is the soft tissue called the pulp. It’s in the center of the tooth. Then there is the dentin, followed by the enamel. Covering the root of the tooth is the cementum.
When these layers are compromised, you can have issues that result in nerve pain, a treatable condition that causes sharp pain or discomfort inside the tooth or along the bed. If you’re dealing with nerve pain, it’s time to get to the root of the issue.
What’s Causing Your Tooth Pain?
There are two types of nerve pain you might experience. The first involves a single tooth and is often the result of an infection, a cracked or chipped tooth, or excessive grinding. You’ll feel a sharp pain along the root, where the irritated pulp is agitating the nerve endings.
The second type of nerve pain is called dentinal sensitivity. This can impact many teeth at once and results from worn-down enamel. Once the enamel is weakened, it allows cold, heat, or acid to reach the dentin layer of your teeth, the place where your nerve endings live. As you might already know, this hurts!
Tooth decay can also cause nerve pain, as the decay strips the outer layers of the tooth and exposes the pulp. Infection and teeth grinding (bruxism) are other culprits of pulp sensitivity. You might also experience tooth nerve pain if you have gum disease, smoke, or brush your teeth too aggressively.
Treating Tooth Nerve Pain
You can use toothpaste or oral treatments designed to numb the area for a short-term solution. You can also avoid heavy brushing, hot or cold drinks, and acidic foods. However, to get some long-term relief, you’ll need a filling or root canal. Don’t worry! Your dentist is very well versed in numbing the area before performing the procedure, resulting in instant relief before taking care of the issue permanently.
The Danville Family Dentistry Team of doctors fill a tooth when nerve pain is caused by tooth decay. It’s the most common dental procedure. When you visit us for a filling, we numb the surrounding area, remove decay, and then fill the tooth with amalgam (silver fillings) free material or resin (white, tooth-colored fillings). We offer both types. Some patients prefer silver fillings because of their affordability. Resin fillings match your teeth, are more robust, and take a few more steps to complete. We let you decide what’s best for you and your family.
Another way we treat tooth nerve pain is with a root canal. If your tooth nerve is damaged, we have to get deeper into the tooth to remove infected pulp tissue, which contains the tooth nerves causing you pain. After removing the infected or inflamed tissue, we clean and seal the tooth.
Finally, in extreme cases, we can remove the tooth. This happens when the tooth no longer has nerves and blood vessels supplying it with the nutrients and blood flow it needs to stay healthy.
Preventing Tooth Nerve Pain
There are many ways to prevent nerve pain, from a varied and healthy diet to regular oral care habits. To avoid tooth nerve pain, limit the intake of acidic foods if you have sensitive teeth. Floss and brush twice a day, but brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle. If you play sports or grind your teeth, ask us about a mouthguard.
If you’re suffering from nerve pain or damage, it’s time to come see us. Don’t let that nerve pain keep you from living your best life and eating your favorite foods. Visit the dental professionals at Danville Family Dentistry for regular checkups. Call us today at 317-745-4400 to schedule your next appointment.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.