Tooth Information

About Your Tooth

Your teeth consist of two main parts. The Crown: the visible portion of the tooth above the gums, and The Root(s): the portion of the tooth lying beneath the gums and surrounded by bone.
Inside of each root is a channel that runs the length of the tooth, and contains pulp. Pulp consists of nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue. Pulp can also be referred to as the “nerve” of the tooth. The pulp can be irreversibly damaged by bacteria associated with decay, very deep restorations, fractures, trauma, and periodontal disease.

Tooth Pain Guide

Tooth pain and sensitivity can signify damage, disease, or infection. In many cases of pain and sensitivity, it is important to take action immediately! Take a look at our sensitivity and pain guide to determine whether or not you need endodontic and reparative treatment.
Momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods
Possible Problem

If discomfort only lasts a few moments, sensitivity to food temperature generally does not signify a problem. The cause of discomfort could be a loose filling, or minimal gum recession, which will expose small areas of the root surface.

What To Do

You may try using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Brushing vertically up and down with a soft brush. If you brush horizontally, you may wear away the exposed root surfaces. If this does not help, you should see your dentist.

Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods
Possible Problem

Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods probably means the pulp has been damaged by deep decay or physical trauma.

What To Do

See your endodontist to save the tooth with root canal treatment.

Chronic pain in head, neck, or ear
Possible Problem

Sometimes, pulp-damaged teeth will cause other parts of your head and neck to hurt. However, other dental or medical problems may be responsible.

What To Do

You should see your endodontist for an evaluation. If the cause of your discomfort is not tooth-related, your endodontist will refer you to an appropriate specialist or physician.

Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment
Possible Problem

Dental work may inflame your tooth’s pulp, which will cause temporary sensitivity.

What To Do

Wait four to six weeks. If the pain persists or worsens, you should see your dentist.

Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw
Possible Problem

Sinus headache is often felt in the face and teeth. Grinding your teeth, a condition known as bruxism, can also cause this type of aching.

What To Do

For a sinus headache, try analgesics or sinus medicine. For bruxism, consult your dentist. If pain is chronic or severe, please see your physician or endodontist for an evaluation.

Sharp pain when biting down on food
Possible Problem

Decay, loose fillings, or cracks in teeth can cause sharp pain when biting down on food. There may be damage to the pulp inside your tooth.

What To Do

You should see a dentist for an evaluation. If you have a cracked tooth, your dentist may send you to an endodontist. Cracked teeth experience pain from damage to the pulp. A root canal may be recommended to relieve pain.

Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum, and sensitivity to touch
Possible Problem

Your tooth may have become abscessed, causing the surrounding bone to become infected.

What To Do

You should see your endodontist for an evaluation and recommendation of treatment to save the tooth. In the meantime, take over-the-counter analgesics until you see a specialist.

Tooth Saving Tips

Saving a tooth through endodontic treatment should always be the first choice for the best results. By saving your natural teeth, you’ll save your ability to efficiently chew, bite normally, eat your favorite foods, maintain your natural appearance, and limit the need for more expensive, ongoing dental work!

Call us if you are having a tooth emergency! 501-227-ROOT (7668)

Tip 1: Always Choose the Root!

When choosing between root canal treatment or tooth extraction, always choose root canal treatment! Nothing will look as real as your natural tooth. A denture, bridge, or implant, just isn’t the same.

If your dentist recommends tooth extraction, ask whether a root canal treatment is an option.

Tip 2: Talk to an Endodontist

If endodontic treatment isn’t an option, ask for a referral to an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists who specialize in saving teeth! They are experts at diagnosing and relieving tooth pain and use advanced equipment to treat patients quickly and comfortably.

Tip 3: Tooth Removal Isn’t the Cheaper, Less Painful Option

Extracting a tooth will require artificial replacements in order to prevent your other teeth from shifting and from experiencing future dental problems. The cost of tooth replacement is often higher than the cost of an endodontic procedure to save your teeth! Patients who choose to have a root canal are six times more likely to experience a “painless” procedure than those who choose extraction.