Tooth pain is one of the worst types of pain anyone can feel, and it usually comes by surprise bringing even the toughest ones to their knees. It is possible to have dental nerve damage and not know it. You can also suffer nerve injury through dental work like tooth replacement, an injection for anesthesia, or after tooth extraction. The best thing to do is go straight to the dentist as soon as you notice some of the symptoms, so they can give you a proper treatment.

Identifying nerve damage

One of the most common causes of tooth pain is dental nerve damage. This can cause teeth to become quite sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, meaning eating most foods can be rather uncomfortable. There are 2 main causes of tooth nerve pain including pulpal sensitivity and dental sensitivity.

Pulpal sensitivity is pain caused by nerve damage around the pulp of a single tooth. Common causes include cracked or chipped teeth, tooth decay, and sometimes following dental work. This can also be developed as a result of grinding and clenching of the teeth.

Dental sensitivity occurs when the tooth enamel becomes damaged, probably as a result of a crack or chip, but also as a result of erosion. External stimuli like cold, hot, or acidic foods can cause pain throughout the mouth. Remember that one of the largest causes of dental sensitivity is the repeated use of teeth whitening products.

Signs of nerve damage

Tooth nerve pain usually develops gradually over time. At first, you might feel a dull pain in the mouth but slowly it can build into a more severe discomfort. Visiting the dentist early on can help alleviate discomfort and give you the proper treatment options. Also, regular dental care like brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can prevent the development of tooth nerve pain.


Although it’s normal to feel pain whenever we have a damaged tooth, the levels of pain for nerve damage can vary from non-existent to extremely painful. The pain comes from sensitive nerve endings around the outside of the tooth when they are damaged. Usually, the pain presents itself when chewing or when pressure is applied.


Gumboil is an abscess that develops on the gums, and can also appear as swollen bumps, or small pimples. Persistent and recurrent gumboils may indicate nerve damage. The main cause for this is bacteria, often from food particles, plaque, or tooth decay. Symptoms that usually accompany gumboils are bad breath, pus discharge, bleeding, earache, and others.

Tooth discoloration

If you notice a change in color in a tooth that can often indicate that the tooth is dead. It will get darker in color, and one can also notice a yellow, gray, or black discoloration. This is similar to bruising, as a change in color occurs because the red blood cells are dying. A trip to the dentist as soon as you notice this is a must.


Swollen gums around particular teeth are a sign of nerve damage. Dark red gums usually indicate inflamed or sensitive gums, and the swelling is most prominent right where the tooth meets the gum. This can also cause discomfort while eating or drinking since the gums are very sensitive and will react to different temperatures.

Increased sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be anything from slight discomfort to prolonged tenderness. This can be caused by the decay of the external enamel, and the sensitivity is usually present when drinking or eating something cold or hot. Some of the trigger foods include citrus fruits, pickles, sugary drinks and foods, and tomatoes.


Professional dentists from Soams Dental Care say it is crucial to treat nerve damage as soon as possible. Depending on the cause there are different treatment methods including filling and root canal.

A filling is the most common procedure which relieves pain. If you have tooth decay, the dentist will clean out the infected area and fill the cavity. This will prevent external factors from aggravating the nerves surrounding the tooth.

Root canal procedure is similar to a filling, but the difference is that an endodontist will remove the infected material and seal the tooth. The endodontist removes more of the pulp than they would when filling a cavity. This will allow the patient to continue using their tooth normally, without experiencing pain.

Final thoughts

Even though nerve damage can be very painful there are treatments to cure it. So, remember to visit the dentist regularly, and in case you notice any of the signs mentioned above, make an appointment as soon as possible to treat the damaged tooth before it gets worse.