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Your Teeth Are Artificial, So Why Do You Have Toothaches?

by Terry Wilson

For a lot of people, toothaches are the result of sensitive teeth. But if you wear false teeth—dentures, implants, crowns, and bridges—then your teeth should never be sensitive to heat and cold. So what is causing the pain? There are 2 likely culprits: the prosthetics, or your oral health. With either case, there is a lot you can do to ease the toothache until your dentist can see you and offer a more permanent relief.

Pain Caused by Artificial Teeth

Toothaches with artificial teeth are more common when you first get the false teeth placed. Over time, soreness and pain should recede as your mouth adjusts to the new set of teeth. However, if pain persists, there is an underlying cause that needs to be dealt with. Some possible reasons you could experience continual toothache pain are because your prosthetics don't fit properly; something went wrong at the dentist's office between making tooth molds and fitting them to your gums. For example:

  • Dentures and Bridges: Poorly-fitted dentures and bridges could be too big and contain edges that cut into your gums. If one area is irritated enough, it could feel more like a toothache than sore gums.
  • Crowns: A crown might be too big, continually feel unnatural in your mouth and be overworked because it comes in contact with other teeth and food more than it should. There is also excess force along pressure points when your teeth don't fit smoothly together, which leads to a sensation similar to a toothache.
  • Dental Implants: Implants that don't fit properly could be resting against a nerve, causing pain responses in the same way a chipped or cracked tooth does.

Pain Caused by Your Oral Health

The second reason you could experience toothache-like sensations while wearing prosthetics is due to your oral health. It is crucial that you treat your artificial teeth the same way you treat natural teeth and clean them at least twice daily. Rinsing your mouth between meals will also prevent oral health problems from developing. Common problems that feel like a toothache result from decay in the gums. Some types of decay include:

  • Gum Disease: Gum disease typically begins as pockets of bacteria found in the gums. When the pockets are localized, it feels like a toothache. However, as the disease spreads, you will find sores throughout your mouth and eventually your entire oral cavity will be in pain.
  • Crowns with Cavities: You can actually develop cavities if your teeth are capped by crowns. Most often, the cavity is located close to your gum line, where some natural tooth might be exposed and is difficult to clean without flossing. If your crown cracks (possibly due to night grinding), cavities can develop inside the cracked area, as well.
  • Cavities Between Teeth: Lastly, if you have some natural teeth and some false teeth, cavities can develop between the two. At first, it may seem that the false tooth is the one that "aches". But as the cavity grows, it will be more apparent that the natural tooth is actually the problem.

What to do About Toothache Pain

Without proper dental care, there is little you can do to fix a toothache. However, you can get temporary relief until the dentist is able to see you and discover the cause of pain. Some short-term solutions are:

  • Use Compresses: Alternate between applying warm and cool washcloths to the ache. Simply hold them to the outside of your cheek for 20 minutes at a time before changing cloths.
  • Rest and Relax: When possible, remove false teeth to give your gums a break. If you have permanent prosthetics, make sure you aren't grinding your teeth or doing anything that causes excess pressure.
  • Eat Soft Foods: Avoid hard candies and other chewy foods and instead eat soft foods until soreness abates.

It may surprise you when you have false teeth and yet experience a toothache. These "toothaches" are either caused by the prosthetics themselves or your oral health. In each case, you should seek a dentist in determining the cause and relieving the symptoms.