Tooth nerve pain is a sharp and sudden pain that hits you without any warning signs. It can easily ruin your meal and your day because commonly you might suffer from this while eating.
Tooth nerve pain occurs when your tooth’s pulp is exposed. An exposed pulp has nerves which when coming in contact with any foreign substance, triggers pain.
Some reasons lead up to this unwarranted situation. Eroded or cracked tooth, gum diseases, smoking, teeth grinding, etc. can cause severe tooth nerve pain.
Even if you brush aggressively, you might chip off your tooth enamel which covers your sensitive tooth nerves. Thus, chipped or eroded enamel is the primary cause of nerve pain in your tooth.
The pain might be unbearable but rest assured it is entirely treatable. You can manage the pain at home by maintaining oral hygiene and avoid certain food substances. Desensitizing toothpaste and soft brushes help you ward off the symptoms over time.
If everything fails, see your dentist to get a conventional treatment for this pain. Some conventional pain treatment methods include crowns, restorations, and root canal therapy. Periodontal therapy may also prove to be fruitful in some cases.
What is tooth nerve pain?
Teeth nerve pain feels like a sharp pain that hits you suddenly with or without any prior indication. If you eat or drink something that triggers the nerves of your teeth you will face this dental issue.
If you have an eroded or broken tooth, the chances of you getting nerve pain in your tooth increases. Chipped teeth often have an exposed pulp (soft tissue of your teeth). The pulp comprises all the blood vessels and nerves in your teeth.
Hence, the pulp is the most sensitive and also the most vital part of your teeth. Protecting the pulp against nerve triggers is essential if you want to prevent this type of pain. Monitoring your diet and condition of your teeth may help. (1)
Signs and symptoms
Let’s look at some of the cardinal signs that indicate a nerve pain in your teeth.
- Constant dull aching or gnawing pain
- Pain when you lie down
- Night pain
- Sharp piercing pain on eating or drinking something hot or cold
- Pain on chewing sweet or sour substances
- Swelling around a particular tooth
- Pain on biting
- Swelling on the glands below the jaw
- Redness in the gums and mild fever
Causes of tooth nerve pain
When the nerves of your teeth lose their protective coating, they become sensitive to hot, cold and sugary foods and drinks, brushing and even movement.
Anything that breaks or chips away tooth and exposes the soft tissue beneath it can cause tooth pain. Here are some common causes –
When there are no apparent signs of dental decay or gum disease, but you are still experiencing intermittent pain, you may have a cracked tooth.
The cardinal sign of cracked tooth is a pain on releasing the bite. Sugar can flow under the tooth and cause spontaneous pain. Cracks also allow temperature changes to reach the nerve. Only a dental restoration can fix a broken tooth.
Receding gums, inflamed and sore gums are painful. They allow sugar and hot or cold foods and drinks to affect tooth nerves. Hence, triggering a nerve pain.
Smoking damages teeth and gums, which can cause tooth sensitivity. It is a common cause of nerve pain.
Brushing with a hard-bristled brush and aggressive brushing damages the gums and exposes the pulp. All of these lead to nerve pain. (2)
Teeth grinding is an involuntary and unconscious habit. Grinding wears away the teeth and triggers nerve pain.
Home remedies of tooth nerve pain
You can reduce tooth nerve pain at home by doing the following-
- Use desensitizing toothpaste and brush with a soft-bristled brush twice a day and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash once a day.
- Stick to sugar-free dairy, fruit and vegetables and lean meat.
- Don’t chew ice chips as they can cause tooth fractures.
- Avoid snacking on sticky or sweet foods.
- Avoid eating aged cheese.
What to avoid?
Avoid the following trigger foods and drinks to reduce tooth nerve pain.
- Citrus fruits
Conventional treatment for tooth nerve pain
Tooth nerve pain won’t go away entirely by itself. For long-term relief, you need to discuss your symptoms with your dentist. Some conventional treatments include –
Crowns, restorations and root canal therapy
To treat a cracked tooth, your dentist can apply a crown. When the crack is complicated, you may need root canal therapy. Tooth bonding restorations may help if there are minor cracks on your teeth or if you have a chipped tooth.
Chemical treatment with dentifrices
Other therapies for tooth sensitivity include fluoride gel or prescription desensitizing agents depending on the cause of your sensitivity. (3)
If your gums have receded or swollen, your dentist may treat them with a gum graft. Gum grafts cover your exposed teeth roots and reduce nerve pain eventually.
Tooth nerve pain is the most uncomfortable and highly dreaded tooth problem. You need to continually monitor the condition of your enamel to avoid these sudden pangs of pain. But the pain is manageable, and the causes are treatable.
Don’t let sharp pains or aches from your teeth spoil your day. Try to reduce your symptoms at home, and, if you find you are still in significant pain, see your dentist.
Your dentist will be able to treat the cause and reduce your chances of experiencing another attack.