7 Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt

  • By Joel Snyder
  • 09 Dec, 2016

There's nothing more aggravating or borderline debilitating than tooth irritation. And along with the pesky   pain   comes the daunting reality that you could have a dentist appointment in your near future involving Novocaine, a root canal, and a 3-day recovery. But before you call out of work, line up your Netflix queue, and beg a friend to come over for support, it's important to consider the many reasons why that   pain coming from your pearly whites might not be cavity-related at all.

"Toothache or tooth pain can be the result of a myriad of causes other than a simple   cavity," says Gerry Curatola, dentist and founder of   Rejuvenation Dentistry   and   RealSelf   advisor. "That's why it's important to be discerning and attentive to what type of pain it is, where it's coming from, and when it's happening."

To help you pinpoint the issue, here's the lowdown on the other reasons you might be experiencing dental discomfort.

1. You brush too hard and it's led to gum recession.
Of course you want to get those puppies as clean as a whistle, but applying too much pressure or   brushing too aggressively   can actually lead to more problems—and pain. "Doing this wears away at the actual tooth structure, as well as the recession of the gums that normally covers the root of the tooth," says Ira Handschuh, dentist at the Dental Design Center in White Plains, NY. You may notice extreme sensitivity to eating and drinking cold items, which is due to your root structure being more exposed. While you can't "undo" the damage caused by overbrushing, you can make an appointment with your dentist, who can place tooth-colored fillings on the areas where the tooth has worn away, says Handschuh. "Sometimes even placing a gum graft to build the gums back to the height they were originally is also possible," he says. Your best bet to avoid this fate altogether: Invest in a high quality electronic toothbrush or a manual extra-soft bristled brush, and dial back the pressure.

2. You have a gum infection.

If you've been told that you have   periodontal (gum) disease, you're far from alone. In fact, nearly half of the US adult population 30 and older has mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But even if you're lucky enough to not have it, you can still contract a gum infection. "This occurs when germs or bacteria enter the teeth or gum area and multiply to a point where the body cannot fight off the bad bacteria," says Melissa Thompson, a Massachusetts-based dentist and owner of three Aspen Dental practices. "The infection may cause pain or swelling, a small pimple above the tooth or area, the release of pus, or even a bad taste in the mouth." As soon as you notice any of these signs, it's best to get to your dentist's office, stat. "Gum infection may lead to an abscess, which can cause even worse pain," says Handschuh. "Your dentist will have to clean out the gum region around the infected tooth and prescribe antibiotics and oral rinses immediately."

3. You've experienced tooth trauma.
You might be thinking that, if this were the case, you'd know right away, but surprisingly, tooth trauma can be the result of an incident that happened many years ago. "This can entail anything from falling and hitting the teeth, being in a car accident where there's a force to the mouth or jaw, or even chewing on some type of food that traumatizes the tooth," says Handschuh. Along with tooth trauma or a tooth fracture comes increased pain and   sensitivity when chewing, which causes the tooth to   flex   and irritates the nerve endings within the tooth.

"If a patient were to fall and hit or damage a tooth, their dentist would need to keep watch on that tooth with regular follow-ups and x-rays to make sure there's no infection and also that the nerve inside the tooth is not dying," says Thompson. If the tooth has died as a result of trauma, signs would include discoloration on the outside of the tooth and temperature sensitivity. "A root canal and crown is typically the treatment recommended for a dead tooth, and, if the tooth needed to be removed, implanting a bridge or removable appliance such as a partial denture would be the next step," she says.

4. You have a severe sinus infection.

Especially during allergy and flu season, a   sinus infection   may creep up in a way that doesn't even feel like a normal one. "Since the roots of certain teeth actually sit right by the sinuses, the pressure from a sinus infection actually mirrors tooth pain," says Handschuh. "Instead of dental treatment, one would need medication like a decongestant and possible antibiotic prescribed by her family physician."

5. You grind or clench your teeth while sleeping.
Maybe a significant other has already clued you into the fact that you have this habit, but it can cause more than just annoyance to your bed partner. "In some cases,   chronic teeth grinding   can result in a fractured or loose tooth," says Handschuh. "So it's very important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist so he can examine the way your teeth fit together, and consider whether or not any of them are hitting too hard or too early." An imbalance in where your teeth meet when they grind together is what can cause problems like tooth and muscle pain. "There are many ways to treat this type of pain, one of which might be the use of a night guard, which assists in removing forces off of some teeth and placing the forces evenly throughout the oral cavity," he says.

6. You recently had fillings or drillings done to a tooth.
If this is the case, you may notice sharp sensitivity when biting down in the area that you had work done. "When teeth are drilled, you may experience sensitivity to cold for a couple of weeks, which is normal, but if there is sensitivity when you bite, especially on hard substances, an adjustment may be needed so that you are chewing more evenly," says Thompson. Since you'll most likely notice this occurrence after you've already left your dentist's office, you'll have to schedule a follow-up visit so that your dentist can check on the bite and make minor adjustments to alleviate the pain. "Your dentist will adjust the bite if needed, and if it's temperature-sensitive, he may place a topical fluoride or desensitizing paste on the area," says Thompson.

7. You have a cracked tooth.
This can be caused by a number of things, including biting into something hard that causes the tooth to crack, an injury from something outside the mouth, like falling or an accident, or even tooth clenching and grinding. "If there is a crack, the tooth pain could be experienced when biting down, chewing, or even drinking something hot or cold," says Thompson. If the crack is to one of your front teeth, you may be able to actually see the damage, but if it is to the back teeth, visibility might be more difficult. Visit your dentist's office right away so she can examine or restore the area before the crack worsens—and immediately stop chewing on anything hard. "If it's due to jaw clenching and teeth grinding, a custom-made night guard will be recommended to protect the teeth from future trauma," says Thompson.

The bottom line:   Tooth pain might have a simple, easy-to-treat cause or it may be more complicated, so it's always best to play it safe and head to your dentist's office for an evaluation. "If left untreated, some tooth pain and infections can lead to life-threatening concerns and can spread throughout the body, causing an even greater infection," says Handschuh. Follow up with your regular   dental care appointments   every 6 months (or more frequently if recommended by your dentist) to avoid these more serious scenarios. "Have an open, honest dialogue with your dentist to set up a commitment to keep your mouth healthy and pain-free for your entire life," says Handschuh.


You can always make an appointment at our office. Our newly renovated office is conveniently located at 2100 Carlmont Drive . We are on the corner of Alameda de las Pulgas Avenue, 1 block west of Ralston Avenue, and directly across from the Carlmont Shopping Center. We are also near Hwy 92 and Hwy 280. There is a parking area in front of the office.

We accept new patients and our office supports a variety of PPO insurance plans including Met-Life, Delta Dental, and Guardian.

Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Fabulous Smiles Tips and News

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I took part in painting a mural designed by local mural artist Tucker Russell. The mural is on the side of the Flax Art store in San Francisco. Started out with just a few of us than more aspiring artists joined in. Who knew it would be so much fun to spray paint graffiti!!
By Danielle Burgess 02 Aug, 2017
According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, the average time that people wait to see their dentist is three years. And in these three years, a lot can happen that can damage or wear on your teeth. You can end up with shorter teeth due to wearing down or accidents that damage them, or stained teeth due to diet. These things can leave you feeling self-conscious.

Thankfully, there are ways to restore worn or short teeth and to get brighter teeth. With special dental implants, you can reshape your teeth , and teeth whitening options can restore their healthy shine. But you still need to take care of them, even after having a procedure to reshape your teeth or a teeth whitening.

You don't want to get teeth whitening only for them to be stained again.

So, to help you keep a healthy smile pre-procedure and post-procedure, here are some tips that you should keep in mind.

1. Brush Your   Mouth   Often

Not just your teeth, you should brush everything in your mouth. Your gums, your tongue, the roof of your mouth. All of these things need to be brushed and brushed often. This will help keep your teeth cleaner longer and prevent germs from taking root.

Make sure you brush these areas gently to avoid causing more damage than you help.

2. Floss Often

As most dentists will tell you, flossing is a good thing to do to keep your teeth clean. Brushing can clean the surfaces, but can't do much for the spaces in between. You need to floss to get a totally clean, and you should floss at least once a day.

3. Eat A Teeth-Friendly Diet

Most people indulge in sugary foods because they taste good. However, sometimes the best tasting foods can be the most harmful to your teeth. Things like sodas, candies, and other sugary items should be consumed in moderation.

Foods such as nuts, fruits, cheese, and vegetables are all teeth friendly. And cheese is good for your mouth because it makes you produce more saliva, which neutralizes acids.

These are just a few tips to ensure that you have a healthy mouth after engaging in an expensive teeth-restoring procedure. You don't want the work you put into your mouth being undone because you engaged in some bad habits.
By Danielle Burgess 26 Jul, 2017
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But what is concierge dentistry, and what are the benefits? This post is designed to give you a general understanding of what concierge dentistry is and how it can help you maintain your confidence that allowed you to go so far in your career.

Full-Service Dentistry
Concierge dentistry is about providing you the dental care you need in a manner that is expedient and convenient. That means that those who specialize in concierge dentistry must have a deep understanding of both general dentistry and cosmetic practices.

This allows you to condense the number of dental visits because regardless of whether you are getting dental implants or having your teeth whitened, you only have one dental office to schedule through.

More Attentive Care
When it comes to your time, concierge dental groups understand how important it is. Since these services take on fewer clients, they are able to give you a greater level of care, meaning that they can accomplish more in one appointment than many dental offices can in three.

The difference in your schedule can be huge. Instead of taking an hour off two or three times a month to see to all your dental needs, you can take off one chunk of time and rest assured that your needs will be met.

Renewed Confidence
High powered jobs are highly visible jobs. That means that you are constantly needing to look your best. Stains on your teeth or a gap can do a great deal to undermine your sense of confidence.

The professionals at a concierge dentist office will go above and beyond to address your every concern and have you feeling self-assured again in no time.

Whether you are a CEO or the head of public relations, it can be hard to juggle your dentistry needs and your busy schedule. Concierge dentistry offers you a personalized service that will handle your dental care needs quickly so you can get back to doing what you do best.
By Joel Snyder 20 Jun, 2017
Over the years, I have treated family and friends going through cancer therapy. The symptoms
and side effects of the disease and its treatment can cause physical and oral changes that affect
how you feel and live. The following information is meant for these patients with head and neck
cancer and their caregivers understand and cope with the management of their oral care.

You are welcome to request my whitepaper for more information, call for consultation, or schedule a pre-treatment examination.
---Katharine Jones DDS
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