We don’t like visiting the dentist too much, it’s hard for us. The recommendation of the specialists is to do it every 6 months but, according to the College of Dentists and Stomatologists of Madrid, only 44% of Spaniards comply with this routine. We end up enduring the pain, using ibuprofen as if there was no tomorrow. It is a major mistake: mouth problems, if left untreated, can be dangerous, and not all are cavities, some ailments can cause major pain and lead to serious illness.
“In the mouth there are many conditions that can cause pain, a pain that is often accompanied by inflammation,” says the president of the Seville College of Dentists, Luis Cáceres. Although caries is the most frequent cause of dental pain, it is not the only one. The president of the General Council of Dentists, Óscar Castro, stresses that “pain can have an inflammatory origin (due to periodontal diseases), infectious (due to a dental abscess), a mechanical origin (due to hypersensitivity, bruxism, fissures in the tooth, the simple eruption of the wisdom teeth) or by more serious pathologies such as cancer in the oral cavity. ” These are the most frequent reasons.
When the problem is not the tooth but the gum
Sometimes when we think we should go to the dentist because our teeth hurt, that feeling is actually a reflection of a gum problem. “Gum diseases are mainly caused by accumulation of bacterial plaque, it is an inflammatory responseof the gingival tissues. But we have to differentiate gingivitis from periodontitis. While the former is limited to inflammation, redness and bleeding of the gums, periodontitis also affects the supporting bone tissue of the tooth, causing the bone around it to be lost and which will end with the loss of the tooth. That is why it is essential to take care of gingival health, not allowing inflammation (gingivitis) to appear that can evolve into an irreversible process (periodontitis), “says Castro Reino.
His colleague Luis Cáceres confirms that, in addition to exposing the surface of the tooth root, which makes the teeth appear longer, the most common gum disease is gingivitis, as 85% of patients over 50 years. To avoid this evil, which is usually caused by poor dental hygiene. Of course, it is also important to maintain a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, and avoid the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, as well as sugary foods and drinks.
What if the pain is hypersensitivity?
Dental sensitivity is, along with that of caries, the most frequent pain for which you go to a dentist’s office. It is an acute pain of short duration and always caused by chemical, thermal or tactile stimuli. As the president of the General Council of Dentists explains, “there are several causes that can cause dental sensitivity: from excessively strong brushing (which produces abrasion of the enamel) to using toothbrushes with very hard filaments or applying excessive pressure to the brushing, passing by a retraction of gums, lack of dental pieces, bruxism or an abuse in the acid intake “, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, soy sauce, vinegar …
The also spokesman for the Andalusian Council of Dental Colleges clarifies that the degree of sensitivity varies greatly from one case to another, “due to the cause that causes it and the pain threshold itself, which is individual. But dental sensitivity It has treatment and consists of blocking the dentin tubules ( which is a tissue of the intermediate tooth, between the enamel and the pulp) that are exposed to air and are responsible for this sensitivity. Most importantly, in addition to performing this treatment, is to eliminate the cause that causes it to prevent its recurrence, “says the professional.
Infections, diabetes and coronary heart disease
Some diseases can affect the immune system and favor the appearance of infectious oral problems. Conversely, certain infectious mouth problems can lead to serious general health problems. “Every time there is pain or a condition that is not normal in the mouth, you should visit the dentist,” says Luis Cáceres. It seems that there is a relationship between gum diseases with pathologies such as diabetes or coronary heart disease. In the case of diabetes, there is a two-way relationship. On the one hand, having diabetes increases the risk of periodontal disease,since it is a pathology that alters the inflammatory response against the existing microorganisms in the gum and makes it more difficult for the inflammation to go down and for the gum to recover. On the other, periodontitis can affect diabetes, impairing blood glucose control and making it worse.
Teeth grinding, source of muscle and headache pain
Unconsciously clenching the jaw and gnashing the teeth, or in other words, suffering from bruxism, is something that 70% of Spaniards do, according to the Official College of Dentists. It is an involuntary act, which usually occurs while we sleep, although it can also occur during the day due to stress without us noticing it, but it is a gesture that ultimately ends irremediably in pain, since. According to Óscar Castro, it causes progressive wear of the hard tissues of the tooth (enamel and dentin), so bruxism is usually accompanied by discomfort or even headache and neck pain (due to the contracting effect of its muscles).
It is important to go to the dentist at the slightest sign of bruxism: if our partner tells us that we grind our teeth at night, if we notice that our teeth wear out, if we notice an increase in tooth sensitivity, if we have neck or temporomandibular joint discomfort , explains the specialist. Treatment depends on the degree of bruxism, but Luis Cáceres recommends the use of a discharge splint that is placed each night to sleep, “although in more severe cases rehabilitation by means of prostheses is recommended, because many bruxists lack dental pieces, or to go to a physical therapist and even a psychologist, since often the origin is a nervous and tension state ”