If you've ever experienced dental pain, you know that "tooth ache" is a major understatement. Understanding the basics of tooth pain will help you know when to take action to prevent an all-out episode of severe discomfort.
Nerve fibers connected to your teeth are different than those in the rest of your body. Although they can send pain signals to your brain, they do not transmit specific location signals like nerves in other parts of the body. If damage exists in a back left molar, your brain may tell you that your entire jaw hurts.
Many different nerve fibers exist, and each produces a different pain sensation. This makes it difficult and confusing to specify the cause of dental pain. Once it starts, oral pain can affect a single tooth or the entire jawbone, muscles, jaw joints, face, head, and neck—even transmitting from one area to another, creating secondary pain.
Recognizing and diagnosing this complex pain is not an easy job. A dental professional with a comprehensive knowledge base of all the relevant variables, astute diagnostic skills, and years of experience recognizing the clinical manifestations can help. No one wants to be in pain, and no medical professional wants their patient to be in pain. But even more importantly, such pain can be a latent sign of a moderate to serious condition, and can escalate rapidly to seemingly unmanageable proportions. That's why we encourage our patients to call us at the least sign of discomfort, from tooth sensitivity and aching jaws or face muscles to chronic headaches or any other kind of oral pain. The sooner we see you, the sooner we can identify and resolve the root of the problem and alleviate your pain.