Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist

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Toothaches aren’t only caused by cavities

The most common cause of a toothache is usually a cavity, but there are other lesser-known causes that patients need to know about. Along with impacted wisdom teeth, infections, and cracked or chipped teeth, gum recession can also cause a toothache. Gum recession exposes highly sensitive areas of the teeth, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

Evidence of gum recession

Gum recession occurs when the gums pull away (recede) from the enamel area of the tooth. Darker areas at the base of teeth can be evidence of gum recession as the tooth root becomes exposed. Exposed areas become sensitive without the enamel outer coat and gum recession causes aching, throbbing and/or shooting pains when consuming hot or cold food or drink. Along with sensitivity and discomfort, gum recession can increase the risk of gum disease.

Causes of gum recession

Causes of gum recession include brush too hard, eating too many sugary or acidic foods, using tobacco, and frequent use of teeth whitening products. Exposing gum tissues to irritants or treating them roughly, can cause gums to pull away. An additional cause of gum recession leading to tooth pain is teeth grinding or clenching that can move teeth out of alignment and strain gum tissue.

Gingivitis and tooth pain

The buildup of oral bacteria that occurs with gingivitis can lead to tooth pain and/or aching. This sore feeling occurs particularly around the back teeth and bleeding gums can also occur during brushing. It’s important to detect and treat gingivitis early to resolve it with a professional dental cleaning followed by guidelines for a successful at-home oral health care procedure. Without treatment, gingivitis can lead to gum disease.

Finding the cause of toothaches

The only way to know what’s causing a toothache is for the patient to visit their dentist for a thorough examination of teeth and gums. If the examination doesn’t show any visible problems with the teeth and gums, then the dentist may take X-rays to look for potential tooth damage. Once the dentist determines the exact cause of the toothache, they can treat it appropriately. In the case of gum recession, treatment can involve something simple like brushing less aggressively or require more involved procedures such as root planing and scaling, which is also a treatment used for gingivitis.

When you’re suffering tooth pain or sensitivity, it’s vital that you visit the dentist promptly to treat any oral health issues before they progress. Contact Dupont Dental today to set up an appointment and discuss treatment options.