Different types of tooth pain mean different things, which is why it’s a good idea to know what you should do, depending on what you’re experiencing. While one kind of ache could mean you need to get to the dentist as soon as possible, another one might only need a dentist’s visit in the next day or two.

According to The Tooth Doc, knowing the critical Ws—When, Where and Why—will help you figure out the most important one: What to do? Understanding the pain and being aware of when and where it occurs is one of the easiest ways of getting to the why, and what you need to do.

The 5 Types of Tooth Pain and What You Should Do

1. A Persistent, Dull Ache

This is one of the most common tooth pains, and it’s one you really need to be aware of. Where is the pain? Does it feel like it’s one specific tooth or is it all over? When is it aching? Is it constant or are there times you notice it more? The problem with a dull ache is that when it eases, you tend to forget about it until it becomes a little more noticeable again.

Why this particular pain is happening is also a little tricky to figure out. It could be because there’s something stuck between your teeth, or because you grind your teeth. For either of these the “what to do” is relatively simple.

If you think it’s a result of something being stuck, you should brush and floss your teeth. The pain should ease after doing this. Grinding your teeth will cause a persistent ache that extends to the back of your jaw. In this case, chat with your dentist about a nightguard for bruxism.

A more serious “why” could be that an abscess has formed. This means you have an infection inside the tooth, which has made its way to the root. If you notice the pain is localized to a specific tooth, you need to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

2. Sensitive Teeth

Another common pain people experience is sensitive teeth, especially when eating or drinking food that’s hot or cold. When do you feel it more? When you’re eating something really cold or something hot? Is the pain short and sharp or does it last longer than 30 seconds?

Teeth that are sensitive to extreme temperatures could point to several issues, some more serious than others. Receding gums or worn down enamel are associated with a minor pain that lasts a short while. Simply changing your toothpaste to one for sensitive teeth and avoiding hot, cold, and acidic food and drinks will help.

If the pain continues, it could be indicative of more severe issues, including decay, a cracked or fractured tooth, gum disease, or roots that are exposed.

3. A Jabbing Pain

There’s very little chance that you won’t notice a short, sharp jabbing pain. The “why” is usually a sign of some kind of damage to the actual tooth, and it’s not going to go away on its own.

The “where” and the “when” is especially important but the “what” is always a visit to the dentist to sort it out as soon as possible. Check the tooth to see if the tooth has a filling that’s come loose or if there is a fracture. Cavities or cracked enamel can also result in this type of pain.

To prevent further damage and something more serious, like an abscess, it’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible.

4. Throbbing Tooth Pain

It’s hard to ignore this pain. An intense, throbbing pain is more often than not severe enough to cause significant discomfort and concern, and needs immediate attention. Look out for swollen or bleeding gums or intense pain when you chew, which are usually signs of tooth decay that has gotten into the soft pulp of the tooth.

If left untreated, this infection can spread to the bone and cause severe problems and even affect your overall health. You need to see your dentist immediately to treat this.

5. Jaw Pain

Although not as common, jaw pain could be a sign of impacted wisdom teeth. An impacted tooth means it’s blocked and can’t push through the gum. This can lead to infection as well as overall health issues. As with throbbing tooth pain, it’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible.

A good oral health routine, as well as regular dental checkups, will help you avoid these 5 types of pain by keeping your teeth and gums healthy. As part of their preventative care, The Tooth Doc in Alexandria uses technology and their experience to pick up issues before they start. Call them or request an appointment online today.

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