Most people already know what dental pain is, and how excruciating it can be. What is common in all these dental pains, is the fact that they almost always appear on holidays, at Christmas, on weekends, or at least at night, when noone can help you. These different dental pains have different treatments, that is why it is important to know what they mean.
Pain is a signal from the body, telling us that there is something wrong inside, something got through the internal defense mechanism and our teeth or the sorrounding tissues are being damaged, prompting us to take action. Obviously, in every case the visit to the dentist is the final solution, as very few people have an X-ray machine, dental drills and the other necessary instruments at home.
These signals usually start off as mild and blunt pain, that don’t even call attention to themselves, patients dismiss them easily, saying it will pass. If it remains a constant, dull pain and doesn’t irradiate to the ears or eyes, then most often it is the irritation of the gum – inflammation because of plaque, or it has been mechanically injured with food. In this case a professional hygiene session would offer release (or changing of the old filling/crown in the vicinity of the inflammation, if it repeats often). Temporary comfort can be found in mouthwashes (Listerine for example), which help with inflammation and pain.
Stronger pain means bigger problems: if the tooth hurts to sweets and/or cold, it means the tooth is attacked by caries or erosion – this calls for urgent filling, as pain means the damage has already spread through the enamel to the dentin. It reacts well to painkillers.
The worst pain is the one that hurts to warm and biting – this indicates the presence of a dead nerve, with pus being present. Pain intensifies when the patient goes to bed, as the pressure increases in the head in horizontal position. When the pus eats away the bone around the apex of the affected tooth, the gum swells and pus might be felt in the mouth. This pain does not react well to painkillers, the only way to get relief is with antibiotics. However, we do not recommend using these without previous medical examination, because more harm can be done than good, if they are not taken in the correct time interval and the necessary minimal time period. The medical solution (if the tooth is not in too bad shape already – which would lead to extraction) is quite simple: the dentist drills a small hole on the top of the tooth, reaching the pulp, from which pus and gases will gush out, releasing the pressure and relieving the pain. Then the root canals will be disinfected and filled. The pain mostly starts in the evening and the patient cannot sleep all night: they can either call the dental clinic in the morning, or visit the emergency dental service (SMURD in Romania), where they can drill the tooth.
What is true for all diseases, it is much more pleasent to prevent the problem, than treat it, therefore a visit to the dental office is recommended every 6 months, so an experienced doctor can catch all the small problems in time, before causing the aforementioned pains. If the patient does so, he/she will only know about these pains from descriptions and the dentist will find less and less problems at the control sessions, making these visits almost „pleasent”.