Tooth pain happens for many reasons. Cavities and tooth decay are not the only reasons for tooth pain. For example, a sinus or ear infection can cause pain in nearby teeth. Another common cause of tooth pain is gum disease. Gym disease may be to blame if your tooth is hurting and you cannot see a cavity or any signs of tooth decay.
Oral bacteria cause early-stage gum disease
Dentists call early-stage gum disease "gingivitis". When a patient suffers from gingivitis, they will have the following symptoms:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Gum pain
- Deeper than normal gum pockets
- Pus coming from gum pockets
- Visible tooth roots
The main cause of gingivitis is bad oral bacteria. Like the good oral bacteria in your mouth, bad oral bacteria live within biofilms that form on your teeth. The biofilms of good bacteria don't damage your teeth or gums. However, the biofilms of bad oral bacteria can damage both your gums and your teeth. Dentists call the sticky, yellow biofilm of bad oral bacteria "plaque".
Plaque is acidic. The acidic nature of plaque means that it gradually damages gum tissue. Eventually, gums exposed to plaque recede. This means the gum tissue protecting the roots of teeth pulls away and exposes the roots.
Tooth pain occurs with gum recession
Gum recession is the name for the process of gums pulling away from teeth. When gum tissue recedes, the pockets around the affected teeth become deeper. As the gum tissue recedes, plaque and oral bacteria then make their way into the newly opened pockets around teeth. When gum tissue recedes far enough, the sensitive roots of teeth are exposed.
Unlike the chronic pain of a toothache, which is usually because of an infection of a tooth, the tooth pain experienced with early-stage gum disease is acute. Acute pain is brief. The most common time to feel tooth pain when gum disease is to blame is when you eat or drink. Hot and cold temperatures easily penetrate the thin enamel of exposed tooth roots and cause momentary pain.
Treat early-stage gum disease before it progresses
Gingivitis or early-stage gum disease eventually progresses to periodontitis, the more serious form of gum disease. Periodontitis damages teeth, gums, periodontal ligaments, and bone. If you notice you have gum recession and tooth pain, as well as the other symptoms mentioned in this article, see your dentist soon.
With prompt treatment, you can stop gingivitis from becoming more serious.
For more information about dental services, contact a local dentist.