Knowing These Four Things About Pain Can Help You Communicate Better With Your Dentist

Describing a toothache to your pediatrric dentist can be difficult. There are many nerves in your mouth, and it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint where your pain is coming from or even give it a label. However, your dentist relies heavily on your descriptions to guide his or her treatment of your problem. If you consider these four facts about pain before you go to your exam, you will be better prepared to describe the pain you are experiencing. 

There Are Different Types of Pain 

You already know that you can experience pain in different ways, but you may not be aware of how much of your dentist's diagnostics depend on your description of the pain you are experiencing. The description of your pain can tell your dentist where they should be looking as well as what type of damage or decay they should be looking for. It can also determine which diagnostic tools, such as x-rays or an electric pulp test, are necessary in your case. 

The main descriptions used when determining dental pain are throbbing, radiating, constant, sharp, and dull. It is also important to note whether the pain is increased by chewing, exposure to hot and cold, exercise, or laying down. As soon as you begin experiencing pain, you should write down what it feels like and any changes you experience over time. This record will help you discuss your pain with your dentist more accurately. 

Everyone Has a Different Threshold for Pain

How intense the pain you experience from a dental issue is not only dependent on the severity of the problem but also how sensitive you are to pain. Pain sensitivity is influenced by gender, genetics and stress, among other things. This means that while your friend may not be bothered by their toothache, you may experience severe pain. 

Understanding that there are different thresholds for pain will help you describe the intensity of the pain you are experiencing to your dentist. Instead of simply saying that you feel a high amount of pain, try to compare the amount of pain to another common injury. If you have ever broken a bone, you can say whether the pain is more or less severe than that experience. If you have a low pain threshold, it is important that your dentist knows. This will allow them to modify their technique to accommodate you as well as recommend appropriate pain medications. 

Problems Do Not Go Away Just Because the Pain Does

Have you ever had an intense toothache one night and then woke up in the morning and it was gone? You may think that your problems have passed, but they actually may have become more severe. If your pulp has been damaged, you will experience a high amount of pain and then your nerves in your tooth may die and you will no longer feel any pain. However, it is important to go to the dentist as soon as possible as untreated root problems can lead to more serious and complex problems. While you are there, make sure the dentist knows you experienced pain and how it ended. 

You Have Several Pain Management Options

There are a variety of prescription, over-the-counter, and natural pain remedies that may help soothe your aching tooth, and they all work in slightly different ways. It is important that you record what kind of pain medication you used and when to help your dentist determine the cause of your pain. Additionally, if you can stop taking pain relievers 2-4 hours before your appointment, you may be able to give your dentist a better description of what you feel while he or she examines your teeth.  

A concise description of your pain can lead to a quicker diagnosis of your problem. If you are unable to describe your pain, you should find a dentist who can discuss the types of pain in a way that makes sense to you.