Tooth pain can be quite uncomfortable. However, before it can be treated, the reason for the pain must be identified.
Here are a few reasons why tooth pain occurs.
Enamel Erosion or Thinning
The outermost layer of the tooth material is the enamel. Although hard, the enamel can wear away over time, exposing the dentin.
The tubules in the dentin house the dental nerves. Thus, once the dentin is exposed, the nerves become more accessible, increasing the sensitivity of the tooth. A tooth with eroded enamel may become painfully sensitive to changes in temperature and to the exposure to sweet or acidic foods.
Enamel erosion or thinning can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Grinding the teeth. The force of the teeth of the top palate grinding against those of the bottom palate can wear away the tooth material.
- Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles or too much force while brushing can mechanically wear away the enamel.
- Brushing immediately after consuming acidic food or drinks. The enamel may remain in a softened state for about a half-hour after its exposure to acidic substances, making it more susceptible to erosion while brushing.
- Acid reflux. Stomach acids that make their way into the oral cavity can dissolve the tooth material.
As the gums recede, the roots of the teeth may be exposed in the oral cavity. The gums normally protect the sensitive roots of the teeth, which have an outer layer called cementum instead of enamel.
Cementum is not quite as hard or thick as enamel. Thus, when the roots of a tooth are exposed, the dentin is more easily accessed, and painful sensitivity may result.
Gum recession may be caused by the vigorous brushing of the teeth, a lack of good oral hygiene, or the development of gum disease.
Dental decay is the demineralization of the enamel. It occurs as the teeth are exposed to bacterial acids that dissolve the minerals that comprise the tooth material.
The holes in the enamel that form from decay can expose the dental nerves, allowing for painful inflammation. Additionally, the holes can permit bacteria to invade a tooth, resulting in a painful tooth infection.
Dental decay typically occurs because of inadequate brushing and flossing. Additionally, the consumption of sugary or starchy foods can promote decay since the formation of bacterial acids occurs as the microbes feed on simple sugars.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area. To learn more about dentistry, consult a resource in your area.