Tooth Nerve Pain — How It Starts and How It’s Treated

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tooth nerve pain

Tooth Nerve Pain — What Does It Happen and How Does a Dentist Kill a Nerve in Your Tooth?

Tooth nerve pain is a type of discomfort felt at the nerve of the tooth. The pain can be mild or acute, and it can be caused by a variety of causes and factors. In the following paragraphs, we’re looking at tooth nerve pain symptoms and causes to give you a good idea of what you can expect. 

If you’re suffering from tooth nerve pain and have had a portion of your tooth removed, press here to get more info on restorative dentistry and maybe book an appointment if you’re in the Lombard, IL, area.

What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Nerve Pain?

The symptoms of tooth nerve problems will vary depending on a number of factors, most importantly, the root of the problem. However, some symptoms are almost universal, so you’re likely to experience them no matter what. Those include:

  • Pain (either throbbing or sharp): Pain of any sort felt in the core of the tooth is a reason for concern. If you’re experiencing some sort of discomfort that doesn’t seem to be going away, be sure you contact your dentist immediately. The same goes if you feel pain in the gums and the surrounding tissue, as it can also be an indicator of nerve issues.
  • Sensitivity of any kind: Nerve problems and pain usually entail sensitivity. If your teeth start aching when you drink hot, cold, or acidic beverages or when you eat sweets, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Swelling of gums and tenderness of the surrounding tissue: Pain and sensitivity are typically accompanied by swelling of the gums and tenderness of the surrounding tissue, which can often be seen on the surface, for example, on the cheek or around the lips. Sometimes, it only manifests itself when you chew or try moving your jaw. Whatever the case, be sure to get in touch with your doctor.
  • Discoloration: Probably the most well-known symptom of tooth nerve problems is tooth discoloration. If you notice your tooth has become dark and lost its sheen, it might be a reason to suspect the nerve is dying or already dead.

It is important to know that timely intervention is necessary whenever you’re experiencing any sort of dental pain or discomfort. Ignoring symptoms and expecting the problem to resolve itself typically leads to further complications, some of which might be irreversible and require tooth extraction.

How Do We Treat Nerve Pain?

Often, tooth nerve pain is managed with medication and antibiotics. In most extreme cases, the dentist will simply remove the tooth. That is the most effective solution, and it will ensure there are no further complications with the affected tooth. Upon its removal, the tooth can be replaced with a bridge or some other restorative method. In other cases, the treatment usually entails root canal therapy.

Root Canal Therapy

In essence, root canal therapy is a dental procedure used to treat the inside of the tooth after it’s become infected or when the nerve has died. The main benefit of root canal therapy is that it helps preserve the tooth structure. In other words, it removes the need for tooth extraction and allows the dentist to extract only the nerve.

The process of installing root canal fillings entails the following:

  • Dental X-Rays: Dental X-rays are necessary to determine the extent to which the tooth nerve is damaged and give the dentist more insight into the nature of the problem. 
  • Anesthesia: If you need a root canal, you will book an appointment. Once you’re on the dentist’s chair, your dentist will apply anesthesia. Usually, we use local anesthesia to numb the surrounding area, but your dentist might give you some additional medication, too, to help you relax.
  • Dental dam: Your tooth needs to be isolated before the procedure can start. That’s where dental dams come into play. They’re small pieces of rubber that keep the tooth dry and allow the dentist to operate on it without worrying about your saliva.
  • Drilling: Next, the dentist will make a small opening in the tooth that will allow them to access the pulp.
  • Pulp removal: Next, the dentist will use their instruments to remove the nerve and the tissue inside the tooth.
  • Disinfection: Once the inner part of the tooth is removed, it needs to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Root canal filling: When the canal is empty, it can be filled with a special material called gutta-percha. It’s a highly resilient, rubber-like material with biocompatible properties that make it perfect for dental restoration.
  • Sealing the opening: Once the canal is taken care of, the dentist will close the opening they made to access the inside of your tooth. That is done with a simple dental filling, which both closes the hole and prevents bacteria from getting back in and causing other problems down the line.
  • The placing of a crown: Finally, you might need a dental crown to protect the whole tooth and restore its functionality. Crowns are not always needed, but if they are, you’ll probably be given a temporary one to use while you wait for a more durable solution to be ready.

Home Remedies

Depending on the severity of the problem and its causes, tooth nerve pain might be mitigated by some home remedies that will ease your discomfort and help you sleep and eat before you can book an appointment with your dentist. You can:

  • Take some over-the-counter medication, for example, ibuprofen.
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water since sodium is known to reduce inflammation. Alternatively, you can use hydrogen peroxide to kill residue bacteria.
  • Numb the surrounding area with a cold compress, which will also reduce swelling.

Remember, however, that seeking professional medical feedback is crucial for complete recovery and that home remedies can never replace proper treatment.