“I’ve had Fillings, Root Canal Therapy, and Dental Surgeries. Why does my Tooth Still Hurt?”
At times teeth become sensitive or begin to ache for no specific reason or can begin to hurt following a dental hygiene session or after routine dental procedures. Despite thorough investigation and treatment efforts to diminish or stop the tooth pain (including the placement of sedative temporary restorations, root canal therapy, surgical procedures, and extractions) sometimes the tooth pain persists to the point of creating frustration for the dentist and anxiety along with suffering for the patient.
Recent research has suggested that for no specific reason the nerves that send pain information to the brain from teeth, can become “sensitized”. Example: you leave the beach with a sunburn and putting your shirt on (a normal activity) produces pain. What happened is that the threshold for the nerves in your skin to fire has diminished due to the heat from the sun.
In a similar way nerves serving your teeth can develop lower firing thresholds (after a tooth cleaning, a simple dental procedure or for “no good reason”) leading to the experience of tooth pain when no physical cause can be identified. The dilemma in these cases occurs when tooth pain persists and the dentist cannot find anything wrong with the teeth or gum tissue.
Once a diagnosis is made, treatments can be put into place that help restore normalcy to the nerves in the painful tooth or tooth site. Once accomplished these difficult tooth pain problems can be gotten under control.
If pain arises as a result of muscle overuse or tension, common tooth pain treatments can include jaw exercises during the day, oral appliances, and even Botox injections in the jaw muscles to diminish the forces exerted during periods of nighttime clenching and grinding of the teeth. Once these destructive forces are controlled the tooth pain typically goes away.