Dealing with wisdom tooth pain

wisdom tooth pain

Understanding Wisdom Tooth Pain

Wisdom teeth don’t really have much use because they’re located at the very back of the mouth. Most of the time, they need to be extracted because they rot easily, particularly if you’re not meticulous with brushing and flossing.

Another reason why most people just choose to have them extracted is because they’re painful to have around, especially when they’re still trying to break through the gums. Since most wisdom teeth grow in crooked, sideways or misaligned, they push other permanent teeth and cause them to shift, which can be rather uncomfortable. On top of that, since wisdom teeth come out late, they tend to mess with the alignment of the teeth that have already grown in.

The pain of having wisdom teeth doesn’t occur for some – there are lucky people with wisdom teeth that come out like regular molars – but for those who experience it, the discomfort can be great. Some experience throbbing pain, especially when chewing food. There are even those who complain that the pain radiates to different parts of the head (leading them to think that the pain’s due to a sinus infection, which does present similar sensations), especially when the teeth are impacted.

Impacted wisdom teeth are truly painful because they can’t emerge properly.

On top of this, they are prone to bacterial infection. Therefore, it’s imperative to have them surgically removed as early as possible. Timely extraction can prevent damage to bones and other teeth.

It’s important to point out as well that impacted wisdom teeth can also put you at risk for cysts and tumors that lead to permanent damage to your jawbone and other teeth. Although tumors rarely form around the tooth, it’s definitely more reassuring to have a mouth that’s not an ideal environment for the development of tumors.

If you have pain in the area where wisdom teeth grow, see your dentist right away. It’s better to establish right away if the sensation is due to these teeth or some other reason. This way, you can get the appropriate treatment and be free from the discomfort and potential complications much faster.

Wisdom tooth pain is no light matter because you simply cannot ignore it; seek dental attention when you start experiencing it.

If you are currently looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD to help you deal with wisdom tooth pain, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to meet you. We’re experienced in dealing with all kinds of dental concerns, so contact us today!

What causes throbbing tooth pain?

Throbbing Tooth Pain: Causes and Relief

One of the most important things our body can do is tell us when something’s wrong with it, and it tells us through pain. Toothaches are no exception, albeit they’re usually much more irksome compared to the other warnings our bodies give us.

The worst toothache can render you immobile from pain, holding on to your head like it’s going to explode. Then there are toothaches that feel dull and subdued. Another kind of toothache is called throbbing tooth pain — an intermittent pain that comes and goes seemingly like it’s timed to the beat of a song. Indeed, it’s rhythmic enough that Aristotle thought it was linked to our heartbeats.

Regardless, it’s not only painful — it’s a mischievous kind of painful, giving you a moment’s respite before pounding on your head again.

So What Causes the Throbbing?
The main culprit behind throbbing tooth pain is usually inflammation. It’s often associated with inflammation within the tooth itself (the pulp) or in its surrounding areas, which is usually caused by:

  • Gum infections
  • Pulp infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Broken fillings or crowns
  • Chipped or cracked teeth

Your dentist will have to figure it out for you before treatment can be administered.

So How Do You Relieve Throbbing Tooth Pain?

Interestingly enough, since throbbing tooth pain comes and goes, you can distract yourself sufficiently well from the pain. This is why it’s less painful during the day when you have a lot of other activities taking your attention away from the pain. Usually though, during the night, it’s a different, more painful story.

Of course, “do more stuff” isn’t the ideal prescription.

You can try some home remedies to deal with the pain, such as rinsing your mouth out with salt water or using ice compresses or even placing ice cubes directly on the affected area in your mouth. There’s always over-the-counter pain medication as well.

When it’s nighttime and your mind focuses more and more on the throbbing pain, you’ll also notice that the pain intensifies when you lie down. Some things you can try include:

  • Elevating your head with pillows. Two to three pillows can help reduce the blood flow to the area where the throbbing pain is coming from.
  • Floss. Food particles may be putting pressure on the area, causing the pain to come and go. After flossing, rinse with warm salt water.
  • Press a warm tea bag against the area where the pain is coming from. It reduces the pain and replaces it with a comfortable sensation.

You can definitely try all that, but it’s still best to get your dentist on the case. Dr. Aaron Nicholas and his staff would be glad to help get rid of your throbbing tooth pain if you’re looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD. Get in touch today!

The Top 4 Myths and Facts About Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure recommended by dentists when there is trauma or infection in the nerve or pulp found in a tooth’s canal. The trauma or infection can be caused by various reasons or factors, which include the following:

  • The presence of abscess or decay, also known as an infection, on a tooth.
  • Trauma or injury on the tooth, such as a chipped or broken tooth, which results in the exposure of the nerve.
  • The slow death of a tooth due to aging or previous trauma which was not treated immediately.

Root Canal Therapy Myths and Facts

A leading Laurel, MD dentist says that root canal therapy is widely regarded as the most feared dental procedure. However, this is mainly due to the inaccurate information many people have about this treatment.

Below are some of the most common root canal therapy myths and the truth behind them:

  • Myth: Root canal therapy is painful.

Fact: According to a study published by the American Association of Endodontists, the perception that people have about root canal therapy being painful comes from the early treatment methods used to perform this procedure. Dental experts also say that if you are already suffering from pain on the day of your treatment, your apprehension and fear may heighten the sensations you feel during the procedure.

In actuality, root canal therapy is done to provide pain relief to patients. The majority of people who undergo this dental procedure admit they did not experience any pain during the treatment and that they felt better afterwards.

  • Myth: Your tooth has to hurt really bad before you can undergo root canal therapy. 

Fact: You don’t have to be suffering from a really bad toothache for a dentist to recommend root canal therapy. In many cases, teeth that are already dead but are not at all painful may require root canal treatment to prevent the tooth from becoming further infected.

  • Myth: There is no immediate need to undergo root canal therapy since the tooth will be taken out eventually. 

Fact: There is no correct reason to assume that the treated tooth will still be extracted in the future. In general, most root canal treatments are successful and will result in the tooth being saved.

  • Myth: You will have to visit your dentist several times to complete the therapy. 

Fact: Your dentist can complete the therapy in one to two appointments. However, there are various factors that have to be considered to determine the number of appointments needed to complete a root canal procedure. These include the extent of the infection and the difficulty of the procedure. Also, tooth restoration is essential after the procedure to make it functional again. Leading dentists say that the appointments needed to completely restore the tooth should not be considered part of the root canal procedure.

What Does Gum Bleeding Around One Tooth Mean?

Bleeding gums are one of the most common conditions that affect people. But what if the bleeding is confined to just one tooth? What does gum bleeding around one tooth mean?

If the bleeding or swelling is confined around one tooth, there are a few reasons behind that. The most common causes of this dental problem are improper brushing and/or flossing, gum disease, and an abscessed tooth.

Improper brushing and flossing

Simply brushing and flossing your teeth won’t be enough. You also need to do these vital tasks regularly and properly.

If the bleeding is confined around one tooth, it is possible that you have not been brushing or flossing in the correct manner. This will lead to your teeth and gums not being cleaned the way they should be and food debris being left on your teeth.

In turn, this can cause both decay and inflammation in the areas that have not been properly cleaned. Gum disease can also become a problem as a result of this.

Check your gums. If these are swollen or red, if there is pus coming out from the affected tooth, if your gums bleed after brushing, or if you have been experiencing bad breath and taste lately, you will need to visit your dentist.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the leading cause of bleeding and swollen gums. In fact, according to some studies, about half of the adult American population 30 years old and above are affected by gum disease in varying degrees.

One of the initial signs of gum disease is the swelling and reddening of the gums. If you notice these symptoms, you have to consult your dentist to prevent your conditioning from worsening.

Abscessed tooth

Another leading cause of swelling and bleeding around one tooth is an abscessed tooth.

An abscessed tooth is an indication of an infection of a tooth. This often occurs when a cavity is left untreated and the bacteria that caused the decay spread in the different parts of the tooth and infect it.

Apart from redness and swelling of the gums, other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include swelling of the jaw, tenderness or soreness on the affected tooth, throbbing pain, fever, and a salty taste in the mouth.

In order to treat an abscessed tooth, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to contain the infection. Your dentist may also recommend a root canal treatment or tooth extraction, depending on the severity of the condition.

Preventing bleeding and swollen gums

The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be over stressed. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and properly can help prevent a diverse array of teeth and gum problems.

It is also of utmost importance that you visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning and to identify and treat potential problems before these worsen.

If you are currently looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today.

Quick Tips on How to Diagnose a Toothache

It is important to know how to diagnose a toothache in order to avoid it or treat it.

Maintaining the good health of your teeth is not the easiest task in the world. It may seem simple, but there are various dental care tasks that must be done every day to keep your teeth protected and pearly-white.

However, some people are not aware of proper dental hygiene habits; some do not even realize their significance, thus failing to prevent toothaches and other dental disorders. Here are some signs to look out for.

Determine if your teeth are sensitive to cold or hot food

First, identify whether the pain is intermittent or not. If the pain comes and goes, it does not really indicate a major problem as it is a normal reaction to hot or cold foods or beverages. Extreme temperatures affect the nerves that go under the teeth, allowing you to feel a bit of a sting when biting into or chewing food or drinking beverages that are too cold or hot.

If you have recently gone to the dentist to have dental reconstruction done, on the other hand, there is a very good chance that you might have loose porcelain veneers or fillings in between your teeth.

Conduct x-ray and percussion tests

Visiting your dentist is one of the quickest and most accurate ways to obtain an accurate diagnosis of your toothache. When dentists check your teeth, they will be inspecting your mouth for abscesses, cavities, and other hidden oral problems. Dentists typically take x-rays of their patient’s teeth to detect fractures as well. Cracks on the teeth usually cause extreme pain because they let bacteria and other foreign organisms into the sensitive part of the teeth.

The percussion testing, on the other hand, involves lightly tapping the surface of your teeth. This allows dentists to know which teeth are fragile and which teeth have hollow insides. Thus, extra care is applied to those that require more care.

Chronic pain in the head, neck, and ears

More often than not, teeth with damaged pulp affect not just the teeth themselves but everything that surrounds the infected area as well. Damaged, inflamed, or irritated pulp can affect the gums, bones, and tissue that surround them. The condition often reaches even other parts of the body, such as the head, neck, and ears. Usually, this kind of toothache is caused by a dental abscess, but there are also cases wherein other dental problems are involved.

The dental procedures mentioned above may prove to be very delicate, which is why it is highly advisable to consult professionals such as the Nicholas Dental Care team. To know more about the services we offer, contact us today.

Common Signs of an Abscessed Tooth

Abscessed ToothSigns of an Abscessed Tooth 

Need another reason to take better care of your oral health? Two words: abscessed tooth.

What is an abscessed tooth?

An abscessed tooth occurs when the root of your tooth or the area between a tooth and the gum has become infected. It has a few causes, the most common of which is tooth decay. Other possible causes include gum disease and trauma.

Whatever the cause of your abscessed tooth may be, the common denominator is the creation of an opening in the affected tooth’s enamel. Those openings pave the way for bacteria to enter the tooth and infect and damage the pulp, which is located in the center of the tooth. Left unchecked and untreated, the infection can spread to other areas, including the bones which support the affected tooth.

Severe Toothache

The most common sign of an abscessed tooth is severe toothache which can vary from throbbing pain to shooting pain. Apart from toothaches, other common symptoms of an abscessed tooth include fever, painful chewing, sensitivity to hot and/or cold, bad breath and bitter taste, swelling of the neck glands, swelling and redness of the gums, swelling of the jaws, and a sore on the side of the affected gum.

Sometimes, the pulp of the affected tooth dies. In this instance, the toothache will usually stop. However, this does not necessarily mean that the infection is gone. On the contrary, the infection can quietly spread and wreak havoc on nearby tissue. This is why it is crucial to immediately seek the help of a Laurel, MD dentist if you experience the symptoms listed above.

Determining If You Have an Abscessed Tooth

In order to determine whether you truly have an abscessed tooth, your dentist will probe your teeth using a dental instrument. If you do have an abscessed tooth, you will feel pain when the suspected tooth is tapped. During this dental visit, your dental will also ask you to bite down and ask you if you feel any pain. Your dentist will also conduct a visual inspection and may take an X-ray of your mouth.

If your dentist confirms that you have an abscessed tooth, he or she will create a treatment plan which has three key goals: remove the infection, preserve the affected tooth, and prevent further complications.

In order to eliminate the infection, you will need to undergo root canal therapy. In some cases, dentists will recommend root surgery for the removal of the dead root tissue. In other cases, there is no recourse but to extract the infected tooth and allow the drainage of the abscess. Another option for the drainage of the abscess is the incision of the swollen gum.

Your local Burtonsville dentist will also prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection and pain relievers for the pain and discomfort.

Possible Causes of Tooth Pain

If you have experienced tooth pain, you understand that there is nothing nice about it. From mild inconvenience to the disruption of your normal routines, tooth pain can stop you in your tracks.

What are the common causes of tooth pain?

Quite simply, there are several possible causes of tooth pain. You must look at the other symptoms you are experiencing to zero in on the actual source of your pain. Burtonsville, MD dentist shares the following insights:

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks

Typically, the discomfort you may feel is fleeting and you may not be dealing with a serious problem. Often, this type of toothache can be attributed to tooth decay, a loose dental filling, receding gums, or brushing too hard.

The best thing that you can do is to keep your teeth and gums clean using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Do not brush your teeth more than twice a day. You may also use your toothpaste as an ointment on the affected tooth.

If you are experiencing sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks after undergoing a treatment

Some types of dental treatments can lead to the inflammation of the tooth’s pulp. In turn, that can lead to increased sensitivity to temperature extremes.

Usually, this type of tooth pain will subside in a matter of days. However, if cavities have been removed from your teeth or if you have recently gotten a crown or dental filling, it may take between one and two weeks before the pain is totally eliminated. Here, you can use mild pain relievers.

If the pain lingers after consuming hot or cold food or drinks

This may be a sign that the pulp of the affected tooth is inflamed or already dying either due to advanced tooth decay or trauma.

If you experience this type of toothache, your best option is to contact your Burtonsville area dentist. Your dentist can recommend the best course of action to take depending on your actual circumstance.

If you experience sharp pain when biting down on food

This type of tooth pain can be caused by tooth decay, a cracked tooth or a loose filling.

Your best option here is to visit your dentist. If the cause of the pain is tooth decay, your dentist will remove the decay or refer you to an endodontist for a root canal treatment. If the cause of the pain is a cracked tooth, your dentist will advise you on possible treatment options depending on the location and size of the crack.

If you are experiencing a toothache on your upper teeth or near the sinus area

This actual cause of this type of pain can be hard to determine because the upper back teeth and the sinus share the same nerves. It is possible that the pain you are experiencing may be caused by sinus congestion or by bruxism.

Visiting your dentist will help you identify the root cause of the tooth pain.

If you are experiencing sharp pain but cannot identify the affected tooth

The pain is possibly caused by a tooth’s pulp that has been severely infected and is dying. It is highly likely that the decay has already progressed toward a nerve.

If you are experiencing this type of toothache, see a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible. You may need to undergo a root canal treatment to remove the affected pulp.

If you are experiencing constant pain, swelling of the gums and sensitivity to touch

One of your teeth may be infected, and that tooth infection may have gone from the pulp toward the periodontal tissue.

You can use over-the-counter pain relievers for the pain, but it is highly likely that you will need to undergo root canal treatment. Now that you have identified possible causes of tooth pain, hopefully you are prepared to contact your local dentist to address the issue. 

Is Gingivitis Causing Your Tooth Pain?

GingivitisCan Gingivitis Cause Tooth Pain?

When you experience a toothache, it’s easy to assume that the pain is coming from one of the teeth in one particular side or section of your mouth because that is generally where the pain is coming from.

When you visit your Laurel MD dentist to have it checked out, you immediately see that your dentist isn’t as quick to pinpoint the offending tooth as you expected him to be. As it turns out, tooth pain can come from either an infection of the tooth or of the gums, or even an infection that has spread to both. Pinpointing the actual case is crucial in saving the affected tooth. Proper diagnosis is key to determining whether your pain is rooted from an infection in the gums, a cavity or a root issue.

Can Gingivitis Cause Tooth Pain?

Yes, tooth pain can begin when plaque, a film of bacteria, builds up along the gum line and causes the gums to become infected and inflamed; this inflammation is called gingivitis.

Gingivitis can cause the gum tissue to detach from the tooth surface. This creates pockets through which the infection can travel to the end of a tooth and into the tissues of its dental pulp (the sensitive tissue found inside the root canal).

Does a Decayed Tooth Lead to Infected Gums?

It could happen the other way around, too — damage to the tooth can cause gum disease. Bacteria find their way to the dental pulp inside the tooth, causing infection and pain that can range from dull to sharp, intermittent to constant, or localized to spread out to more than one area.

The tooth decay will have started a gum problem when the infection comes out of the tooth root and into the periodontal ligament. The problem may come in the form of a gum abscess or a periodontal pocket.

Getting the Right Help

It would be best practice for a general dentist to refer you to the right specialist — a periodontist who focuses on diseases of the structures that support teeth, or an endodontist who specializes in performing root canal procedures — in order to correctly zoom in on the problem area and take proper action.

Determining the nature of your tooth or gum pain is crucial because it would translate to specific outlooks. If the problem stems primarily from the tooth rather than the gums, root canal treatment may be all it takes to achieve good long-term results. If the problem is caused by gum disease, however, it’s possible that there may be too much bone loss and saving the tooth may no longer be done.

Schedule an appointment with your Laurel dentist to examine your mouth at the first sign of pain so that the appropriate treatment measures can be employed immediately. 

Causes of Bruxism in Adults

Bruxism Causes of Bruxism in Adults

A lot of adults grind their teeth when they sleep. This is an oral health issue because the damage is inflicted when a person is unaware of it. Teeth grinding results in weakened and slightly deformed teeth. Along with this, it can create soreness in the mouth and jaw which, at times, may be accompanied by mild bleeding from the gums.

Known as bruxism in the dental world, teeth grinding is clearly no laughing matter because of the damage and physical discomfort it creates. But what really are the causes of bruxism in adults? Dental and sleep experts have rounded them up below:


A person’s daily routines, lifestyle preferences and tendencies can increase sleep-related issues. The frequent use of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and even sleep aids can lead to bruxism.

Psychological factors

Anxiety, stress and other mental disorders can trigger teeth grinding. In fact, a study reveals that 70% of bruxism happens because of stress or anxiety — as if it were a subconscious manifestation of being at odds with situations. Other studies also discovered that people who suffered stress due to dissatisfaction or unhappiness with their shifting work schedules were more prone to bruxism than those who were not. Likewise, the men in this study demonstrated higher levels of work-related stress, depressive symptoms and bruxism whereas none of these symptoms were significant for the women who participated in the study.

Of course, it’s important to mention that not all adults who deal with a lot of stress grind their teeth while asleep. However, for those with bruxism, stress does often play a role in the condition.

Sleep disorders

Research presents that bruxism is quite prevalent among individuals with sleep disorders such as breathing pauses and obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, and parasomnias. It is said that nocturnal bruxism is the subconscious effort exerted by patients to protect their airway during sleep. Of the aforementioned sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea presents the highest risk factor because it’s lined with an arousal response.

There are a vast variety of treatments available for this condition. People with this condition can give them a try (as advised by their dentists or trusted sleep experts) in order to determine which is most effective for them. But perhaps, the easiest solution that many can try is a mouth guard; this will help make sure that even if people grind and clench their teeth, these are properly protected so they don’t wear away because these mouth guards prevent teeth-on-teeth action.

If you have additional questions for a dentist in the Burtonsville area, contact the professionals at Nicholas Dental Care today!


Do I Really Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom TeethDo I Really Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Despite being called, “wisdom teeth”, these teeth have long been the source of major tooth pain. There is a prevailing notion that these molars, located on the upper and lower jaws, should be immediately removed. The removal often happens when they are close to breaking through the skin as a preventive measure against pain and impact on your other teeth.

Leading dental health authorities today say that having your wisdom teeth removed may not be the solution in every case. That’s why many patients are now asking, “Do I really need my wisdom teeth removed?

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth

In many instances, wisdom teeth won’t create any negative impact on your other teeth or your gums. Some wisdom teeth can grow properly without impacting your smile. If this is the case, then the removal of healthy wisdom teeth may be irrelevant. If the molar has fully erupted and has grown into a correct position, if it’s healthy and allows you to bite effectively, and if you’re able to clean its nooks and crannies, then your dentist will most likely recommend that you keep the tooth and just take care of it properly.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

On the other hand, there are also many instances where your wisdom teeth may fail to grow in properly. Wisdom teeth have a habit of growing in slanted, or sometimes completely horizontal direction facing other molars forward. When this happens, the wisdom tooth is considered impacted and may cause pain, infections or harm to surrounding teeth. When this happens wisdom teeth can put your overall dental health at risk.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend having those teeth removed:

– Pain, swelling and/or tenderness in the area and nearby teeth and gums.

– Infections, pus and tumors arising from the deep pockets created by the incorrect molar position. These passageways are hard to clean and the perfect areas for bacteria to thrive.  

Gum diseases due to repeated infections.

– Widespread tooth decay and damage.

As you see, there is no easy answer to the question of whether a wisdom tooth should be removed. It depends on the specific condition. Growth of the molar as well as the overall state of the patient’s dental health is the deciding factor. You’ll need to schedule regular dental check-ups, with your Silver Spring dentist. Upon examination and dental X-rays your dentist can then determine the right solution for you. As always, good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist can help prevent serious problems and complications that can be a result.