Tooth Pain Troubleshooter

Always consult your dentist or physician, as this information is not intended to help you diagnose a dental condition or to replace the recommendation of your healthcare professional. It is only intended to motivate you to seek appropriate care.

SYMPTOM

POSSIBLE CAUSE

WHAT TO DO

Momentary sensitivity to hot and cold.

Short-lasting discomfort does not signal a serious problem in most cases. A loose filling or receded gums may be at the “root” of the discomfort.

Try using desensitizing toothpastes and modify your brushing technique. If this is unsuccessful, see a dentist.

Sensitivity to hot and cold foods after dental treatment.

Dental work may cause transient sensitivity due to inflammation of the pulp tissue (nerves) inside the tooth.

In general, symptoms disappear after 4 to six weeks. If the pain persists or worsens, see a dentist.

Sharp pain when biting down on food.

Dental decay (cavity), a loose filling or a crack in the tooth may be the cause of this problem.

See a dentist for evaluation. If the pulp tissue (nerve) inside the tooth is damaged, you may need root canal therapy. Tests will be done to determine the extent of the damage to the nerve tissue.

Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods.

This probably means damage to the pulp tissue either by decay (cavity) or trauma.

See a dentist for an evaluation. You may need root canal therapy to save your tooth.

Persistent and severe pain and pressure, accompanied by swelling of the gums and painful to touch.

There may be an abscess originating from an infected tooth, causing infection and inflammation of the gums and surrounding bone.

See a dentist for evaluation. The cause for the infection needs to be determined. It may be possible to save the tooth, or else it may need to be extracted depending on the clinical findings.

Dull ache and pressure in the teeth of the upper jaw and in front of the sinuses.

Upper teeth can feel pain originating from a sinus infection/inflammation. Also, grinding of teeth may cause this type of pain.

See a dentist for evaluation. Pain in the upper teeth disappears once sinus headaches have resolved. If you are grinding or clenching your teeth, you may need a dental appliance to protect your teeth and jaws.

Chronic headache.

In some cause, an infected tooth may cause pain, referred to other parts of the head and neck. However, there are many other conditions that can cause chronic headaches.

See a dentist to sort out if the problem is related to your teeth. If not, a proper referral will be made to the appropriate dental specialist or physician.