Tooth Nerve Pain

Nothing stops you in your tracks like tooth pain. When the throbbing discomfort is caused by an irritated or inflamed nerve, relief usually doesn’t come until you visit your family dentist. The most effective way to treat tooth nerve pain is to avoid it in the first place by maintaining regular visits to your Albany County Dental Associates. As they get to know you, they can guide your preventive habits and tackle any signs of decay quickly and efficiently.


Tooth nerve pain is caused when the nerve in your tooth root is irritated or inflamed. It can happen suddenly, without warning. You may feel shooting pain in your tooth while eating something sweet, drinking something hot or cold or even while brushing your teeth. But while it come on all of a sudden, it’s often been building for some time.

Pain from a toothache can be minor, and it may come and go when the tooth first starts to decay.  As the hard outside layer of the tooth is worn away, the sensation of pain at the root of the tooth may become much more intense. Practice early detection to avoid throbbing tooth pain  and nerve damage with regular checkups and cleanings  by your family dentist  at Albany County Dental Associates

Parts of the Tooth

The outside part of a tooth, known as enamel, is rock-hard. It contains no living cells. If the enamel is worn away for any reason, the soft tissue underneath, known as dentin, is exposed. Then the inner part of the tooth is no longer protected from temperature changes or bacteria.

The central part of the tooth is called pulp. It contains the blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. These nerves can become inflamed, leading to sensitivity or nerve tooth pain.

Causes of Nerve Tooth Pain

Nerve tooth pain is a sign that the tooth is infected or has been damaged or injured.  Anything that breaks or wears away tooth enamel and exposes the soft tissue underneath can lead to toothaches.  There are several things that can cause this to happen, including:

  • Dental decay occurs from the wearing away of the outside part of the tooth, which can worsen if you don’t have professional cleanings twice a year.
  • Aggressive brushing can damage teeth and expose tooth roots. Hard-bristled brushes also can create damaged enamel.
  • Gum disease leads to receding or inflamed gums, which allows tooth nerves to be exposed and irritated.
  • Cracked tooth  damage allows the sugary substances you consume to reach the soft tissue inside your tooth.
  • Smoking wears down tooth enamel and irritates gums.
  • Tooth clenching or grinding that can happen while you’re sleeping can wear enamel away.

Tooth Nerve Pain Relief

In the early stages of a toothache, it may be possible to obtain tooth nerve pain relief using a warm water rinse, over-the-counter pain medicine or a cold compress applied to the outside of your cheek. These temporary remedies work until you can get in to see your Albany County dentist for treatment.

Intermittent tooth sensitivity or pain may be a sign of a small cavity or gum disease. If the root pulp has been damaged or exposed, you probably need a root canal  to completely remove the nerve and save the tooth. Intense throbbing pain accompanied by facial swelling usually indicates an infection, which is treated by an antibiotic before a follow-up appointment for a root canal.

According to the American Dental Association:  The treatment for a toothache may involve a somewhat invasive dental procedure such as a dental filling,  root canal, dental bridge,  dental crown or ultimately, a tooth extraction.  But treatment today can be comfortable, and in fact, often helps you avoid tooth extraction. In addition, today’s cosmetic dentistry options, like dental veneers  and dental implants,  offer alternatives to traditional treatment, and provide a greater esthetic and functional benefit.”

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal  is a procedure done to repair and save a damaged tooth instead of extracting it. During a root canal, decay is removed from the tooth. An opening into the center of the tooth allows access to the dental pulp so the infected or diseased dental pulp can be removed. The pulp chambers and root canals are flushed and cleaned.

The tooth may be left open to drain for several days. Disinfecting medication may be placed inside the root canal and pulp chamber. A temporary crown may be placed over the tooth during this time. The final step is to fill the interior of the tooth and place a permanent crown.

Preventing Tooth Nerve Pain

To help prevent tooth nerve pain, avoid anything that may damage the enamel outside your tooth. This includes acidic foods such as citrus juices or sodas, as well as aggressive brushing habits.

Brushing and flossing twice a day, combined with regular professional cleanings, can help prevent dental decay or gum disease. Call your Albany-area dentist  at the first sign of tooth nerve pain.