Why You Should Never Ignore Tooth Pain

Tooth pain can really make you feel miserable. While you might get a small bit of relief from over-the-counter pain relievers, this method isn’t a good long-term strategy. Tooth pain is nearly always a symptom that indicates something serious is going on.

Tooth pain may be sharp, stabbing, or aching, and it may be constant or only when biting down on something. You may also have headaches, ear pain, red or swollen gums, or foul-tasting drainage from a tooth. All cases of tooth pain should be checked by the dentists at Steelecroft Dental in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Causes of tooth pain

Tooth pain can range from annoying to excruciatingly painful. However, all types of tooth pain need to be evaluated by a dental professional, even if the pain is relatively minor. Tooth pain is usually a sign of a serious problem. Common causes of tooth pain can include the following:

Tooth decay (cavities)

While many people think children are more at risk for developing cavities than adults, this isn’t true. Anyone can develop tooth decay, especially if they have a poor diet and don’t practice good dental hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing.

Dental abscesses

A dental abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the root of your tooth when bacteria gets in. It can be caused by severe tooth decay, a cracked tooth, or gum disease. This will not get better on its own and can lead to a serious infection if left untreated. This condition can even become life-threatening.

A broken tooth or previous filling

Sometimes, cracks in your teeth or fillings can cause pain. Even if the cracks are difficult to see with the naked eye, they can cause lots of pain.

Gum disease

Gum disease typically results from poor dental hygiene habits, though some cases can be due to genetics, hormones, or medications. Gum disease begins with gingivitis, or inflamed gum tissue, at which stage the condition can respond well to improved dental hygiene. 

However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. This stage is often very painful and usually requires treatment to reduce the risk of tooth loss.

How to treat tooth pain

When we see you for dental pain, we’ll discuss your oral and overall health and perform an examination. Depending on the cause of your tooth pain, we may recommend a number of options, including the following:

Better dental hygiene

We may recommend brushing and flossing better and taking more visits to the dentist. If your tooth pain is due to sensitivity to hot and cold, we may recommend a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Antibiotics and treatment of abscesses

In the case of abscesses, we’ll usually prescribe antibiotics and drain the abscess. To drain the abscess, we’ll numb your gums and make a small incision into the affected area to allow the infection to drain.

Root canal

If the pulp in your tooth is infected, you’ll likely need a root canal. With this procedure, we’ll numb your gums and drill into your tooth to remove the infected pulp. Then we’ll fill your tooth with a synthetic material and put on a crown.


If you have a cavity, we’ll remove the cavity and put in a filling. If the filling is large enough to jeopardize the structural integrity of your tooth, we can put on a crown.


As with root canal and fillings, you also might need a crown if a crack is jeopardizing the structural integrity of your tooth. A crown is a tooth-colored cap that goes over your tooth to protect it.

If you have tooth pain, don’t ignore it. Make an appointment today for an evaluation and get on the road to having a pain-free mouth. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Steelecroft Dental today.

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