Most people have had a toothache at some point in their lives. And while a one-off toothache can usually be remedied with an over-the-counter painkiller, recurring tooth pain can be much more challenging to deal with—not to mention it can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue. So, if you’re dealing with recurrent tooth pain, what could be the cause? Here are six possible explanations.
1. Cavity or Infection
If you’re experiencing recurring pain in a particular tooth, it could be because there is decay present or an infection has developed. If the decline is caught early enough, your dentist may be able to treat it with a filling. However, if the decay has progressed and reached the root of your tooth, you may need a root canal.
As for infections, these will usually require a round of antibiotics to clear up. For instance, if you have an abscessed tooth, your dentist will likely prescribe you a course of oral antibiotics. However, if the infection has spread to other parts of your mouth or jaw, you may need to be hospitalized and given intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
Remember that it’s essential to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings so that any decay or infection can be caught early on and treated accordingly.
2. Gum Disease
Gum disease is characterized by inflammation of the gums due to plaque buildup. If you have gum disease, you may experience symptoms such as bleeding gums, receding gums, and loosening teeth—in addition to recurrent tooth pain.
Gum disease is usually treated with a deep cleaning followed by improved at-home oral hygiene habits. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the damage caused by gum disease.
Regardless of your condition’s severity, it’s important to visit a dental clinic so professionals can develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.
3. Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars that people tend to get in their late teenage years or early twenties. Since they’re typically the last teeth to come in, there’s often not enough room in the mouth for them, which can cause them to become impacted—or stuck—in the jawbone.
If your wisdom teeth are impacted, you may experience recurrent pain in the back of your mouth. A dentist or oral surgeon usually needs to remove impacted wisdom teeth. This is because they can cause a number of problems if left untreated, such as infection, crowding, and damage to adjacent teeth.
It’s crucial to have impacted wisdom teeth evaluated by a dental professional so that you can determine the best course of action. In some cases, they can be monitored and don’t necessarily need to be removed.
4. Teeth Grinding
Do you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth during the day or at night? This habit, known as bruxism, can cause wear and tear on your teeth over time and lead to recurrent tooth pain. If bruxism is the cause of your pain, your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouth guard at night to protect your teeth from further damage.
In addition, your dentist may also recommend relaxation techniques or stress management counseling to help you stop grinding your teeth. This is because stress and anxiety are often underlying causes of bruxism.
If you think you may be grinding your teeth, it’s important to be honest with your dentist so they can determine the best course of treatment.
5. Jaw Problems
Jaw problems such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) can also cause recurring tooth pain, particularly if you’re simultaneously experiencing pain in multiple teeth. TMJ occurs when dysfunction occurs in the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull and can result in symptoms like headaches, earaches, and dizziness, in addition to dental pain.
If TMJ is suspected as the cause of your discomfort, your dentist will refer you to a specialist for treatment. For example, you may need to wear a mouth guard or undergo physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.
If you need surgery, research your options and find a qualified surgeon to perform the procedure.
6. Sinus Infections or Allergies
Sinus infections and seasonal allergies are two other possible causes of recurrent dental pain—particularly if the pain is experienced in the upper teeth near the sinuses. When sinuses become inflamed (as they do when you have an infection), they can put pressure on nearby teeth—leading to discomfort or even dental fractures in severe cases.
Seasonal allergies can also cause recurrent dental pain as they often result in congestion that leads to pressure on the teeth and gums. If either sinus infections or allergies seem like they could be the culprit behind your recurring dental pain, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options such as decongestants or antihistamines.
Dealing with recurrent tooth pain can be frustrating—especially if you’re never quite sure what’s causing it! Next time you’re dealing with this type of discomfort, consider whether any of these six factors could be to blame: cavities/infections, gum disease, impacted wisdom teeth, bruxism (teeth grinding), jaw problems such as TMJ disorder, or sinus infections/allergies. Once you’ve narrowed down the potential causes, you’ll be one step closer to finding relief from your painful symptoms!