"Referred Pain," Exposed Nerves, And Cavities: What These Things Have In Common

If it has been some time since you have seen a dentist, and you find that several areas in your mouth hurt, you may have exposed nerves as the result of deep cavities. Once your dentist takes a look to find the cavities, he or she may discover that you have no cavities where you thought you did, in which case, you may have something known as "referred pain." This is what all three of these medical/dental conditions have in common, and why you might be experiencing them all at once.

The Cavities

Cavities in your teeth can travel as far down as the nerve endings in the roots of your teeth and as wide as the crowns of your teeth too. The bigger the cavity, the more likely you will have exposed nerves. Sensitivity to sweet, hot and cold foods will automatically trigger pain sensations, and if the cavities are practically caverns, air blowing across the tooth will be excruciating. Additionally, these cavernous cavities have a direct connection to the common nerve endings that connect all teeth, which causes other problems.

The Exposed Nerves

Now that your dentist has determined that you have exposed dental nerves, these teeth will have to be repaired, restored or crowned, or they will have to receive a root canal to stop the progression of the damage and alleviate pain. Because the nerves are exposed, the pain travels up and down the length of the nerves serving all of your teeth. It has almost a "hive-mind" effect on your teeth, causing dental pain where there should not be any. Once the damaged teeth are fixed, the teeth you thought were part of the problem will suddenly be pain-free. This is the "referred pain" phenomenon.

The "Referred Pain"

Finally, "referred pain" is probably what drove you into the general dentistry practice to see your dentist. This agonizing pain that shoots through several of your teeth in the same area is the direct result of exposed nerves and the fact that dental nerves connect almost all of your teeth in the same areas. When you tell your dentist that two or more teeth that sit next to each other or meet each other on the top and bottom all hurt at the same time, your dentist will examine these teeth to find cavities and exposed nerves. It is the exposed nerves that will cause the teeth without cavities to feel the pain of those with cavities. The unaffected and undamaged teeth feel the pain of the damaged ones, and all because of cavities and exposed nerves.

For more information, talk to a professional like Pike Dentistry.