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Ghost Teeth And Pain: Explaining A Real Phenomenon

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There are all kinds of strange things that can happen with the human body. Most of them can be explained and resolved. Take "ghost limbs," for example. This is a phenomenon that occurs when someone loses a limb in an accident. The limb is not there, but the person still feels like it is. The nerves in the end of the remaining stump are still signaling a limb that is not there, causing the person to feel his/her "ghost limb." Oddly enough, this also happens in dentistry.

Understanding Ghost Teeth

Teeth are rooted in your jaws. They are surrounded by blood vessels and nerves, which is why your dentist has to numb you before doing any restorative procedures (e.g., filling cavities, crowns, etc.). If teeth have to be removed, the nerves and blood vessels connected to those teeth are left behind. Additionally, the stump of a the tooth used to secure a crown is far more sensitive to the pain felt by other teeth nearby or by the loss of nearby teeth. What you end up feeling is pain from nerves attempting to signal teeth that are not there, or signaling neighboring teeth that are crowned and therefore protected from cavities and breaks.

Resolving the Issue of Pain with Ghost Teeth

Unfortunately, because the nerves in your jaws travel the whole distance around and connect all of the teeth together in one big, happy nerve family, you cannot receive most of the typical treatments for nerve pain and ghosting limbs/bones. Thankfully, the pain is usually minimal and does not last more than a few minutes at a time and should be rather intermittent. If you have a severely decayed tooth or a broken tooth that needs a dentist's immediate care, the ghosting pain felt by a crowned tooth or a missing tooth can continue until the other damaged teeth are repaired and restored.

In the meantime, if the pain is bothersome, you can apply heat packs and ice packs to the side of your face where you feel the pain. Oral numbing agents you can buy over the counter and apply directly to the teeth and gums can help too. Some over the counter pain management medications, such as analgesics, can control any throbbing sensations you experience, since these are typically caused by the sensation of blood flow through a blood vessel very close to the nerve.

For more information, contact local professionals like Trussville Dentistry.