This is a question we as dentists get asked several times daily; and I understand why…….surely if there’s no pain there’s nothing to do, as the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”
Unfortunately when it comes to teeth, this is rarely the case.
In reality if a tooth gives you constant agitation or pain then the majority of the time the tooth has gone beyond requiring just a filling; and requires either root canal therapy or to be extracted!
Tooth pain comes in many forms and has many different causes but the primary type of tooth pain is an inflammation of the tooth nerve or ‘Pulpitis’.
Pulpitis has many causes, the most common being:
– Tooth Decay
– Tooth Fracture
– Tooth Trauma
However that is not to say that these factors will always lead to a Pulpitis. If you and you dentist catch it early enough it can often be solved simply without the need for extensive treatment, avoiding any permanent inflammation of the tooth nerve.
When it gets to the stage where you are suffering from spontaneous tooth pain, constant tooth pain, or sensitivity to hot food or drinks this can be indicative of Irreversible Pulpitis. Unfortunately irreversible pulpitis is only resolved with root canal therapy or extraction.
The best way to avoid root canal or extraction is therefore to tackle a problem tooth before it becomes symptomatic. This is why sometimes your dentist may suggest a filling on a tooth which, as of yet, has not given you any symptoms.
This consequently means more extensive treatment for those among us who “only visit the dentist when I have a problem.” And more relevantly less extensive treatment for those who continue to see their dentist regularly; and in the long run less cost.