Diagnosing Mouth Pain


All of us experience mouth pain from time to time. And while the only way to truly know the cause is to visit your dentist, it does help to have some idea of what might be causing your discomfort and whether or not you need to call your dentist right away. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of different types of mouth pain, along with possible reasons why you’re experiencing each one.

  • Sensitivity: If you’re feeling some sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages, several conditions could be present. You might have eroded enamel or receding gums, for example, or you might have a loose filling that is exposing the root of a tooth. Normally, a small amount of sensitivity is nothing to be concerned about and can typically be treated by using a sensitivity toothpaste. But if you notice sudden sensitivity that is severe, you should contact your dentist right away since this might indicate a more serious problem.
  • Pain when biting down: If you feel pain when biting down on food or clenching your teeth, it’s usually an indication that there is a problem with a tooth – a loose filling, a cracked tooth or a badly decayed tooth, for example. If the pain is severe, it could indicate that the pulp of a tooth is damaged or infected. Whatever the cause, if you feel pain when biting down, you should call your dentist and schedule an appointment.
  • Pain and pressure in your jaw and/or upper teeth: If you’re experiencing dull pain in and around your jaw, or in your upper teeth, it’s probably related to your sinuses. While that is the most common source of this type of pain, it might also be related to bruxism (clenching and/or grinding your teeth). If you aren’t experiencing sinus problems, talk to your dentist. He/she can recommend treatments that will minimize the pain and tooth damage caused by bruxism.
  • Severe pain, swollen gums, and/or sensitivity: If you’re feeling one or more of these symptoms and it’s severe, contact your dentist right away. These could be signs of an abscessed tooth, a condition that needs to be treated right away.

While it’s true that most mouth pain will go away on its own after a short period of time, it’s important to discuss any discomfort you might be feeling with your dentist at your next appointment. Often, there’s a simple solution that will alleviate your pain for good. And, of course, if you feel severe pain of any kind, contact your dentist right away. The sooner a problem is addressed, the simpler it will be to resolve.

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