Why Does My Tooth Hurt? Part 1: Tooth Decay

Going to the dentist is not anyone’s idea of fun and nobody (pretty sure about it) wakes up in the morning with the following words being first out of their mouth: ‘Geez, it’s a beautiful day! Let’s go to the dentist office near me, that sounds like a lot of fun!”

Most of the time, the immediate reaction to any tooth pain is: “well, let’s just give it a little bit of time, it may go away”. And while that is certainly a possibility, you need to consider the fact that there is always a reason for the pain. As a family dentistry practice, let us help you narrow down what is the cause for that pesky pain or discomfort. Of course, the best course of action is to come and see your dentist but knowing the cause may help you better understand what needs to be done in order to make you feel better.

Where is it Coming from?

Tooth decay is probably one of the most common causes of tooth pain.

A tooth has three layers:

  • The most outer layer is called enamel. This is the hardest substance in our whole body. Still, bacteria can eat away anything, including enamel.
  • The middle part is called dentin. This is a much softer part of the tooth and contains channels for nerves and helps with nutrition of the tooth itself.
  • The most inner part is called the dental pulp. It contains nerves and blood vessels.

The mouth has the highest proportions of different bacteria; some say over a thousand different species of bacteria call our mouth home at any given time. Most of the time, the bacteria live in peace with each other and you (the host). Saliva is what bacteria call their home and dental plaque is the sticky layer of bacteria and parts of the saliva that forms on our teeth on everyday basis. Sometimes, the sugars in the food affect the bacteria and that creates more acids in the saliva, which in turns causes damage to your teeth, creating cavities.

What Contributes to It?

  • Poor brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis. You can do something about it; just let us help you as an affordable dental office.
  • Poor dental compliance; as in: “not seeing a dentist on a regular basis”. You can do something about this for sure; we are here for you as your Sugar Land Dentist!
  • Eating sticky food rich in sugar; the bacteria just love that! We hope you can do something about it; see if you can lay off these sugary products
  • Eating right, exercising and following your doctor’s orders can help you maintain your diabetes and your oral health.
  • Smoking, tobacco use can increase your susceptibility to decay. If you use any tobacco products, we can help you find the right person to help you quit.

How to Detect It?

Most of the time, you cannot really notice tooth decay, unless it is on your front teeth and it is very advanced. If that’s the case, it will look like white, brown, or a black spot on your teeth (yuck!) Some of the other symptoms include:

  • A toothache (Ouch!), which is the most common symptom.
  • Swollen guns near the decayed tooth are not uncommon.
  • Bad breath, or a bad taste.

What to Do About It?

  • Brush and floss! Most dental offices provide their patients with a complimentary oral hygiene kit after every hygiene visit. And of course, we love helping our patients adjust and improve their brushing and flossing technique as part of our dental services.
  • Eat less sugar and don’t drink so much sugary drinks. If you do have a sweet tooth (like some of us), brush after every meal. Or grab a (sugarless) chewing gum at least!
  • Come and see your Fort Bend County dentist right away! The dentist can remove the decay and replace it with a dental filling, amalgam, dental resin, or ceramic resin. Sometimes, if the decay is too much and advanced, a dental crown needs to be made to replace a big portion of the missing tooth. Or, if the decay is left for too long, the bacteria can actually irreversibly infect the nerve in the tooth. In such case, the dentist may recommend doing a root canal, before a crown can be put on this tooth. That’s why is good to get to your Sugar Land dentist as soon as possible! Unfortunately, sometimes the decay is so extensive that your dentist cannot do much about it. In that case, there are excellent solutions for tooth replacement, such as dental implants or dental bridges.
  • If you cannot come to the dentist right away, and you are in pain, you can put some ice or cold packs on the side it hurts. Please remember to put some cloth between the ice and your skin, to avoid skin damage. Take some pain reliever in your pharmacy (ibuprofen, acetaminophen or similar); read and follow the instructions, of course. Then, make plans to visit your dentist!

At Imperial Dental Center, our experienced dental team lead by Dr. Angelova is happy to provide you with the latest technological solutions to treat tooth decay. We use only the highest quality products and our laboratory work is performed by one of the best dental laboratories in the country.