Don't Let a Missing Tooth Hold You Back in Life

Painful Tooth? Here's Why It May Actually Spell Bad News For Your Gums Instead

by Wyatt Morgan

If your tooth hurts, chances are the first thing you start worrying about is whether or not you have a tooth problem, like a cavity. While this can sometimes be the case, it might surprise you to learn that many toothaches are actually the fault of a problem with the gums, not the tooth itself. Here's how gum disease may be giving you a toothache.

The Structure of a Tooth

The first thing you should know is that teeth are made up of many different layers. You have enamel, dentin, and a pulp that make up your teeth, among other things like blood vessels. The enamel, which you've likely heard of, is the external shell that keeps all the other parts of the tooth safe from things like temperature shifts, bacteria, and acid.

Enamel does a great job of this, but it doesn't actually cover the entirety of your tooth. After a certain point, it's up to your gums to keep your teeth safe.

Gum Disease Recession

When you develop gum disease, one of the first things that happens is gum recession. This is when the gums start to pull back away from the tooth because of chronic inflammation. Over time, you can actually lose gum tissue and have permanently receded gums, too.

When the gums pull away from the tooth, they leave the parts of your tooth that don't have enamel exposed. This not only exposes your tooth to damage, but it can also cause pain because the nerves of the tooth are now exposed to external stimuli. This means that anything from having a sip of cold water to eating a sugary snack is going to potentially make that tooth hurt.

What to Do

Whether or not you suspect that your tooth is hurting due to your gums, you should get help from someone who specializes dentistry. If it is your gums, your dentist can work to treat your gum disease to reverse the damage that has been done. If severe damage has already happened and gum tissue has been lost, a gum graft to extend your gums back to their original length is a possibility. And of course, if there's damage to your tooth, your dentist will ensure that the damaged portion is removed and then filled.

Having tooth pain isn't a good sign, regardless of whether it's due to damage to your tooth, gums, or both. If you're tired of the pain, talk to a dentist and get the process of repairing the damage to your mouth started.