Understanding Toothaches & Tooth Nerve Damage


Ever had a toothache and know just how painful it can get? A toothache is a sign of dental nerve damage, and this is a common problem that can occur due to several different reasons including decay, injury, wisdom teeth impactions etc. Once nerve damage has occurred, there isn’t much you can do about it from home without the help of a dental professional.

The first thing you need to do when experiencing a toothache is seek help from a dentist for a detailed checkup. Once you come in, our dentist will be able to evaluate and see if this is an emergency and your tooth needs to be extracted immediately, or look for another option to control the pain. If left unchecked, your toothache and its underlying problem can also cause other issues as severe as gum disease, so make sure to contact your dentist as soon as possible once you notice the pain!

Dental nerve damage symptoms

The nerves in your mouth help you taste and experience the texture of food we consume day in and day out. If your nerves are damaged, it may affect your eating and drinking routine, making this a rather unpleasant chore with sudden burning sensations or tingling pain. Nerve damage can develop suddenly as the result of an injury or gradual enamel erosion.

What exactly does it feel like? The signs of nerve damage include:

  • Sudden discomfort when moving your jaws
  • Sensitivity following exposure to hot or cold temperatures
  • Pain when biting down/chewing
  • Lack of taste on one side of the tongue
  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Muscle spasms that reach your face & tongue for severe infections

Causes of dental nerve damage

Why does dental nerve pain develop? Damage to the nerves may be the result of several factors. First, if the nerves are exposed as a result of a fractured tooth, you’ll feel pain immediately. You might also experience some nerve pain after certain dental procedures, such as fillings or wisdom tooth extractions. Furthermore, eroded enamel can also leave nerve endings vulnerable to external stimuli. Your enamel may erode due to a cavity or tooth decay that has been neglected, or due to receding gums, which we can also treat here at Wyndham Dental.

Treatments for dental nerve pain

Dental nerve pain can be treated by a dentist or an endodontist, which is a dental specialist who treats issues specifically related to the inner nerves & pulp of your tooth. One of the most common procedures we use to relieve pain relating to nerve damage is a root canal. This is the ideal solution for patients who are suffering from a severe infection that has reached the inner nerves and tissue, and may be the only way to save your natural tooth from needing an extraction.

During this procedure, the damaged tissue is removed, the interior of the tooth is cleaned, and it’s filled with sterile, sturdy material. Removing damaged nerve tissue won’t impact the structure of your tooth, as a dental crown will be placed on top to ensure the strength of it is maintained. Your tooth will be fully functional and in addition, this procedure will likely eliminate future pain/infections.

Fillings can also help relieve pain when the nerve damage is caused due to a smaller cavity. This procedure is quite simple and can be completed quickly. And of course, preventing the need for future fillings and tooth nerve damage is just as important. The best way to do this is by practicing good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing, and visiting your dentist for professional cleanings every 6 months.

Dental nerve damage & wisdom teeth

Another prevalent reason for dental nerve damage is impacted wisdom teeth. This is a condition where your wisdom teeth don’t erupt through the gums properly, becoming embedded beneath your gumline instead.

Even if these molars erupt properly, many people have a hard time keeping them clean because of their location in the back of the mouth. The inability to remove the plaque sufficiently before it hardens into tartar will eventually lead to an infection that will spread to the surrounding teeth. Removal is the ideal treatment we recommend in such instances.

In most circumstances, dental nerve damage due to an impacted wisdom tooth is not preventable. You can lessen your chances, however, by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine with daily brushing, flossing and rinsing for healthy gums and teeth. Extraction of the wisdom tooth is the only solution, however, if you experiencing signs of nerve damage.

Regardless, it’s important to keep your mouth as healthy as possible by following the same consistent oral hygiene routine to reduce nerve problems stemming from any other cause. Additionally, you need to schedule a checkup with our dentist at Wyndham Dental every 6 months to get a professional cleaning carried out and to intercept dental conditions as early as possible