Tooth pain isn’t always a cavity. Tooth erosion, damaged enamel, gum disease, and infected tooth roots can all lead to discomfort.
Cavities are usually the first thing that comes to mind when a tooth is in pain. Cavities form when the bacteria in plaque (a sticky film that builds up on our teeth) are left to feed on tooth enamel weakening it and leaving it vulnerable to further erosion and eventual decay (cavities.
Worn-down teeth are often a result of bruxism (tooth grinding). With continuing grinding pressure on the teeth, enamel is worn away prematurely. Teeth can crack or chip. They may loosen or develop sensitivity to heat, cold, and pressure.
Aggressive brushing, especially with firm toothbrushes, can damage enamel. When the dentin underneath the tooth enamel is exposed, heat and cold can reach the sensitive inner tooth and trigger discomfort.
As gum disease progresses, the gums start to pull away from the teeth and expose their roots. Even though the roots are protected by cementum, they are more sensitive to heat and cold.
Infected Tooth Roots
When exposure to hot and cold foods causes continuous discomfort, or your gums are red or swollen or tender around a tooth, or when you can’t bite down without pain, it could mean that the pulp or roots of your tooth are infected or damaged. Damage to the tooth’s pulp can also be the result of an injury, such as a blow to the mouth. A chip, a crack, or a deep cavity can leave an opening for infection.