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Sometimes teeth hurt and you might not always understand why. If you’re suffering from a toothache, the reason why can reassure you and also help you decide what to do next.

Cavity

A cavity is decay that happens on the surface of the teeth. Cavities are typically caused by bacteria. Cavities can cause localized tooth pain and tooth sensitivity. If the cavity isn’t taken care of by a professional, it could even become a bigger problem like an abscess. Once a cavity begins to form, the best way to get rid of it is to see the dentist. Extra brushing and mouthwash can’t fix the problem.

If you believe that you have a cavity but you’re not sure, see a dentist right away. He or she can diagnose your condition and suggest a treatment that can help.

Sinus Infection

The nerve endings of the teeth go deep into the skull and stop somewhere near the sinuses. When a person develops a sinus infection, the pressure from the sinus cavity can cause the upper teeth to hurt. Often this type of pain is somewhat dull and dispersed, seeming to come from many teeth instead of just one.

Sometimes you can’t tell the difference between a sinus infection and a dental problem like a cavity. The best indication that the problem is sinus-related is the location of the pain (upper teeth only) combined with the symptoms of a sinus infection such as headaches, runny nose, and congestion.

If your teeth hurt and you believe you have a sinus infection, talk to a doctor. The symptoms should go away when the sinus infection clears up. If they do not, or if your doctor determines that you don’t have a sinus infection, see a dentist.

Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth can occur for many reasons. Often people crack their teeth when they bite into something hard or bite with too much force. People can even crack their teeth from grinding at night while they sleep. A cracked tooth can cause pain when chewing, biting down, or when drinking something hot or cold.

Cracks are not always visible, so you may not be able to tell when your tooth has become cracked. If you have the symptoms of a cracked tooth, however, see the dentist as soon as possible. He or she can make a recommendation for treatment. Sometimes the dentist will recommend doing nothing if the damage is not very severe. Other times, the dentist may recommend a crown, filling, or even tooth removal.

Worn-Away Enamel and Gums

Aggressive brushing can cause a variety of problems, including gum recession and wearing away of the enamel. Over time, these problems can cause the sensitive parts of your teeth to be exposed, which ultimately leads to pain. Signs include sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and a loss of gum near the tops of the teeth. These signs appear subtly over time and may be hard to notice.

The best way to prevent worn enamel is to avoid brushing your teeth very hard. The use of a soft-bristle electric toothbrush can help. Once the gums and tooth enamel have worn away, the damage is already done.

Your dentist may be able to fill in some of the missing enamel with filling material or even use a gum graft to restore your teeth to their original state. Talk to your dentist to find out whether or not brushing too hard is your problem.

If you have questions about why your teeth are hurting, contact Ashley Dental Associates, P.A. We’re happy to answer your questions about tooth pain and other dental problems.