Tooth pain can be caused by a variety of factors including decay, erosion, fracture among others, pain severity will therefore depend on the type of stimulus and degree of that stimulus. Pain is the body's natural protective mechanism that alerts us to disease or dysfunction.
Occasional discomfort lasting only moments of sensitivity generally does not signal a serious problem. It may be caused by; a small area of decay in a tooth, a loose restoration or an exposed root surface resulting from gum recession and possibly toothbrush abrasion.
These can typically be corrected by the use a soft toothbrush, cleaning very gently at the gum line, and brushing no more than twice daily. The use of fluoride-containing toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Replacing the loose restoration and adjusting brushing technique.
Sensitivity that results after dental treatment occurs due to inflammation of the pulp tissues inside a tooth. This sensitivity should last no longer then a few days; however, if decay has recently been removed or a filling or crown recently has been placed, a tooth may take a week or two to settle. Mild pain relievers like acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen should help. If the pain persists or worsens, see your dentist.
Sharp pain when biting down on food can be due to decay that is close to the nerve, a loose filling and/or a cracked tooth. The decay will need to be removed, and a loose filling replaced by your dentist. If the pain is caused by pulp tissue damage, your dentist may perform a root canal treatment to clean out the damaged nerve, disinfect the tooth and fill and seal the remaining space to save the tooth. A cracked tooth may be difficult to treat not only if it involves the pulp, but also depending on the location and depth of the crack.
Persistent, Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods and liquids. This probably means the nerve is irreversibly inflamed and/or is dying, and may be as a result of deep decay or physical trauma to the tooth.
The tooth will likely need root canal treatment to remove the dying or dead pulp tissue to save the tooth. If the crack extends to the root surface then the tooth will need to be extracted.
A dull ache and pressure in the upper teeth and sinus area of one or both sides of the face is often associated with the upper back teeth. Sinus pain can feel like tooth pain and vice versa. That's why sinus congestion from a cold or flu can cause pain in the upper teeth. It's important to determine if clenching or grinding is a factor, as they too cause similar symptoms.
A proper dental evaluation will be necessary to determine the cause of your pain and the appropriate course of action.