Tooth pain isn't all the same - you could experience pain in the back of your mouth when you chew. You could experience gum pain when you floss. A part of your mouth might only hurt when you eat certain foods or when you drink a cold cup water.
However, tooth pain is not something you should ignore. Many people shrug off oral pain because they assume it's like any other part of the body. A sore neck, for example, goes away, or knee pain gets better after a bit of rest. Teeth are not as forgiving, and ignoring the pain or masking it with painkillers can actually make a bad situation worse.
Here are some reasons you should always get tooth pain addressed immediately.
You'll Have Reduced Expenses
One of the reasons why people avoid the dentist is because they feel like any dental work will be too expensive. However, tooth problems are simple and relatively affordable to fix if you catch them early. When left alone, the damage compounds, and the solutions to fix them become more complex and therefore much more expensive.
A basic filling, for instance, usually costs less than $200. A root canal, which people need when dental decay becomes too large to fix with a simple filling, can easily cost five times as much.
The worst case scenario is full tooth loss, which will require replacement in the form of dentures, bridges, or implants. While these options vary in price, none is as affordable a set of x-rays and a couple of fillings.
You'll Have a Chance of Avoiding Surgery
Any dental problem that is left too long will require more intervention, and surgery can sometimes be necessary to restore your dental health.
For example, if you have gum pain when you brush your teeth, an early visit to the dentist could show you have trouble with receding gums. A management plan can help keep your gums from getting worse. However, if you don't treat your gums and you continue to have your teeth exposed, you risk tooth loss, and you may need surgical tissue transplants to restore your gum line.
You Might Need Preventative Care
You can use many tooth problems with simple preventative care. A common example is gum disease. Usually, poor lifestyle and dental hygiene habits cause gum disease.
When you see your dentist as soon as you notice gum pain and swelling, you can get your teeth cleaned and start a program to help heal your mouth. Early intervention of gum disease is the best treatment. Left unchecked, however, your gums can become infected with bacteria. The infection can spread to the tooth roots, requiring much restorative work.
The Problem Might Not Be What You Think
A small toothache is easy to ignore. People might think a simple illness is causing the pain (swollen lymph nodes during a cold can cause mild tooth pain). They could write off gum pain as a result of brushing too hard or some tenderness after flossing. However, tooth pain is simply too difficult to diagnose on your own. Pain can be caused by:
- A bad filling. Over time, the tooth near your filling could start to decay. You might not even notice, but this spot of decay can collect a pocket of bacteria and food that causes gum inflammation. The gums might hurt even when your tooth seems fine.
- Receding gums. As mentioned above, receding gums exposes the more sensitive part of the tooth normally protected by tissue. Brushing and cold foods may cause discomfort.
- Wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain if you have not gotten them removed. Even wisdom teeth that start to force crowding may lead to pain. Removing these teeth is the only way to get relief.
A trip to the dentist may seem silly to you when your teeth only hurt once in a while, or only after you floss, or only when you chew too hard or eat something cold. However, these small warning signs can save you pain, financial difficulty, and invasive procedures if you choose to listen to them early.
For more information, visit us at Steckbeck Family Dentistry.