The #1 Most Common Type Of Tooth Pain

The #1 Most Common Type Of Tooth Pain

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Hi, Dr. B here of What is the most common type of tooth pain? That’s what a reader asks. It’s a good question. I have been in practice for 25 years and most people come in with this type of tooth pain. I am going to describe it to you now. It’s good news to the patient when I tell them that there’s not much you can do with this. It is not a deep cavity. It’s not the pulp under attack by a wave of bacteria coming in and infecting the pulp. This pain —let me give you the symptoms— it’s a slight non-lingering sensitivity to cold, sometimes hot coffee, sometimes in little ice cream cone or some cold water, even if you live in the Midwest, breathing in cold air in the winter, that kind of thing. And for a while, your teeth ache, it’s very hard to describe where it is. It may be on one side, but not necessarily on one tooth. And sometimes, rarely, it is spontaneous. In other words, it always has to be cold air or something that elicits a response. And it’s never really when you are biting. So, I hear that a lot. And the first question I ask is what happens when you do something very sweet. If the patient says, “Oh yeah, it hurts,” to me, that right away, typically, indicates that this is the kind of pain that we are going to talk about today— and that is it’s root pain. It is exposed root. A lot of us by age 30 or 35 have been grinding our teeth so much that the sides, the base of the tooth where it meets the gum line —the side, facial, cheek side of the tooth— has worn away. It’s chipped away from all those vertical forces from the opposing teeth. And so the sides of the tooth are breaking off like a calving glacier. And that area becomes very sensitive because it is exposed dentin. Sometimes the gum will recede and the root becomes exposed. And the root is always a little bit more thermally sensitive —and also, sugar sensitive. So, if you eat something sweet, if you are hot and cold sensitive and it gives you a little shiver or a little pain, but it recovers quickly and it goes away, if you don’t have any spontaneous pain, you’re just sitting there doing nothing, your mouth is close, you are not breathing in cold air and you don’t get spontaneous pain, that is exposed root pain. It’s a dentin pain. I call it dentin pain. It’s the exposed root sensitive to the external ambient temperatures and environmental factors. So typically, that’s something you don’t do too much about. You would use a very strong fluoride paste. You would stop over-brushing. We have talked about that in previous videos. You would replace your tooth brush often. Make sure you are using a soft one. You would stop using that back and forth sawing motion and again the fluoride is very important. But the most important thing is to find out if that, in fact, is what’s causing the pain —and of course, you have to see your dentist to do that— if that is what you are experiencing, the news probably will be good. Find out. It’s called root pain or dentin pain. There are other forms of tooth pain and we will talk more about that in the future. And of course, those that have much more serious consequences. But I hope that answers that question of what the most common pain is. Most people come in, and I’m happy to give them the good news. It’s nothing serious. You don’t need a root canal. So, I hope that helps. Thanks for watching.

3 thoughts on “The #1 Most Common Type Of Tooth Pain”

  1. I have several teeth that have such root exposure pain. Because I already had root canal with one tooth, now the rest teeth that have such symptoms are like time bombs to me. You don't know when they are gonna explode and take you to root canal. So Dr. Mark, is there any way to rebuild that protection layer over the exposed root, or we just brush carefully and hope for the best? ๐Ÿ™

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