General Question

nebule's avatar

What are my throbbing gums a symptom of?

Asked by nebule (16446points) February 17th, 2010

I have tooth sensitivity to sweet things… (which, incidentally I’d like to know why sweet things cause pain sensitivity more than hot and cold things for me….) and I have also been given a tooth night-guard for clenching my teeth… which doesn’t seem to help at all… but never mind… the dentist seems to think that it should be at least protecting my teeth from grinding (although I don’t do that anyway…I just clench…).

However, I am now experiencing more regularly prolonged throbbing and more acute sensitive deep pain after eating sweet things. The pain seems to go away after a while but the throbbing deep in my gum isn’t.

My dentist is as useful as a chocolate fire-guard and I am waiting to be transferred to a new one and I’m wondering if anyone has any advice on this matter?

Should I sack off the night-guard altogether as it seems to be causing me more discomfort than good and doesn’t seem to stop me clenching my jaw in my sleep as I’m still waking up with terrible headaches etc.?

Should I stop eating sweet things altogether?

Is the throbbing even a symptom of either sensitivity or clenching…?? Could the throbbing be something more sinister?
My teeth do seem to be very squashed on the side where the sensitive is mainly too… :-/

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17 Answers

gemiwing's avatar

Have you had an x-ray of your gums/teeth/mouth since the pain increased?

Time to find a new dentist.

Cruiser's avatar

You may just have sensitive teeth. My son has hyper sensitivity to touch and describes a similar teeth discomfort we let him use toothpaste for sensitive teeth that has helped him greatly! Aquafresh makes one but there is a highly recommended one called Sensodyne!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If you’re clenching your teeth involuntarily then you most likely are grinding them in your sleep, too, but you wouldn’t be aware of that. The guard is to prevent your teeth from wearing each other down, and (I believe) also to provide some cushioning for your jaw muscles. It’s not going to stop your clenching (and attempted grinding), but it will save your teeth from the worst effects of that. Your jaw muscles and TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint—the hinge for your jaw) may require other treatment, and you may need counseling or something else to get to the causes of the teeth clenching. I know some of this because my former wife had some history here.

I don’t know if the sensitivity to sweets might be related or not; I wouldn’t be surprised.

njnyjobs's avatar

Dentin hypersensitivity is commonly referred to as “sensitive teeth.” If you experience brief periods of tooth discomfort or pain from cold, heat, sour, acids, sweets, or pressure, like when brushing your teeth, you may be suffering from dentin hypersensitivity. Unlike the constant pain of a toothache, sensitive tooth discomfort or pain begins and ends quickly. That is, once the stimulus that triggered the tooth discomfort or pain is removed, the discomfort or pain also readily goes away.

Dentin hypersensitivity can occur when dentin is exposed. Dentin is the porous part of the tooth located beneath the outer protective enamel on the crown and cementum layers on the root. Protection is sometimes lost when the enamel is worn away and/or more frequently, when the gums recede and the cementum is worn away leaving dentin exposed. Generally, cementum is worn away more readily than enamel.

Professional treatment for tooth sensitivity can include anything from fluoride therapy to a root canal. There are also several things that you can do at home to reduce the occurrence of tooth sensitivity, including:

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush – these toothbrushes will result in fewer enamel abrasions.

Using desensitizing toothpaste – these products will help you to achieve a decreased sensitivity. You may also want to apply a thin layer of the toothpaste on your teeth at bedtime to further reduce sensitivity.

Watching what you eat – foods that are high in acid, such as citrus products, gradually dissolve the enamel.

Using fluoridated dental products – daily use of a fluoridated mouthwash usually decreases sensitivity.

nebule's avatar

@gemiwing I had an xray about 4 months ago when I was given the night-guard and nothing showed up.

@Cruiser I’ve just bought this new toothpaste today call Colgate Pro-Relief – it has something…argine? argin?? in it which is supposed to gradually seal the open holes where the nerves feel the pain… or something like that anyway… I’m giving it a go anyway!

Thank you @CyanoticWasp and @njnyjobs xx

edit: @CyanoticWasp I am in counselling (for many things!) but one specific issue I am dealing with at the moment is anger and not being able to express it… unsurprisingly!!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@lynneblundell no, I’m not surprised. Good luck with that.

Val123's avatar

Yes, clenching your teeth can loosen them and expose the sensitive areas. However, what does your dental hygiene consist of? Do you floss everyday to get rid of the crap that has worked it’s way below the gum line? In lieu of that, use a toothpick.

Also…do you have the option of going to the dentist?

Shuttle128's avatar

The issue of a nightguard is done for two reasons: 1) To prevent grinding in your sleep (usually if you clench your teeth often you grind in your sleep whether you know it or not) and 2) To distribute the pressure of your clenching over a greater surface area in order to cushion your teeth (clenching can actually bend and crack your teeth just from the pressure without considering grinding)

Exposed roots and other sensitivity can make the teeth extremely sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet. I’m not entirely sure why sweet things can be painful but the amount each person is sensitive to each type of sensation differs. I am very sensitive to cold but not sweet or hot.

I’ve used Sensodyne for quite a while and only recently started using Crest Sensitivity. I haven’t noticed much of a difference though, I simply like the flip-top lid on the new Crest tubes. It is generally advised to stay away from whitening toothpastes as this actually strips some of the enamel from your teeth and can actually increase sensitivity.

If your sensitivity is due to exposed roots caused by gum recession there are surgeries that can transplant gum material from one place in your mouth to your problem areas. This is not without risks or expense though.

Try to be aware of when you clench your teeth as much as possible, this has actually helped me quite a bit as I am noticing and stopping myself before I do it for long periods of time. It certainly hasn’t broken my habit, but I am more generally aware of it.

nebule's avatar

@Val123 yes I do floss every day and I brush twice a day, although with a firm brush… because I was told that was better for the gums!!

What counts exactly as TMJ would you say… is this it?

Shuttle128's avatar

Well TMJ is more to do with the jaw and soreness caused by clenching or general mandibular joint stress. Clenching and constant chewing can cause TMJ problems. My right TMJ pops out if I open my mouth very far at all but it doesn’t currently cause me any pain. I’ve heard that it might eventually lead to TMJ problems though.

Also, I wouldn’t rely on TCM for explaining TMJ stuff.

Marva's avatar

About the sugar part, that’s easy: sugar causes acidity in the mouth, being that your gums are so sensitive and swolen, it burns them. Also when any organ of our body is so weak, there are a lot of germs around, and they are all eating at once when you have sugar in your mouth, I would guess it contributes.

What is more important for me to renew to you is that you had decribed yourself as suffering from a series of complementing symptoms that are well diagnosed and femiliar, and well treated, in the chinese medicine protocols:

Usually there are other unnoticed symptoms that are related but not comprehended as such, I would assume you might also be suffering from low energy in the morning and thrghout the day? bloatiness and inconvinience after the meals? maybe you sometimes find bruise marks on your legs when you don’t recall being bruised? and you are probably less the sportive type and more towrds less mobile, prefer to stay home and rest.

These symptoms actually have a very strong connection to unfavoring nutrition habbits, such as consuming a lot of breads and milk products, and sweets aswell, less warm cooked meals, and maybe also not organised, grabbing here and there.

A good Chinese Medicine practitioner can help you with your problem, and also teach you the right habbits to maintain your own health.

Shuttle128's avatar

@Marva The gums are not what are sensitive in this case. It is the teeth. The gums may have receded partially and exposed the roots of the teeth to sensations that they are not designed to experience. This along with enamel loss contribute to tooth sensitivity and has nothing to do with sensitivity of the gums.

nebule's avatar

Hi @Marva thank you fro your answer… I’m actually very active these days, I’ve lost two stone in weight over the past few months through diet and exercising at least 4–5 times a week and I walk a lot too. I do have a tendency to want to rest, but… don’t we all? Everything in balance.

I do like my sweet foods and bread but of course I have to and do limit them on my diet. As for dairy, I don’t drink cows milk (I drink rice milk) although I eat cheese (but again in moderation) and sometimes have sweet dairy based desserts. Apart from that I tend to eat a lot of soups and home cooked evening meals based on protein and vegetables with no starch that late in the evening,

I have tried Chinese medicine for urological problems before along with acupuncture and I couldn’t say that it really helped me much however, it was incredibly expensive and after four session of acupuncture and medicines for 4 weeks I just simply couldn’t keep it up so who knows; it might have had an effect if I had continued long term. But this solution is just not practical I’m afraid.

It seems to occur to me that cutting out sugar (of which I’ve read a lot about in terms of it’s effects on the body) could be a solution to many of the ailments I experience. However, as I have been made aware it is a very difficult task and I’m not sure I’m ready for that complete elimination of sugar. My lifestyle would have to change radically. I’m more of a slowly softly approach….

I feel like I’ve done well so far in achieving the weight loss I have and I’m making psychological leaps in terms of long term depression, so I’m not doing too bad. Today I’m feeling ok…the jaw tension is not so bad… and considering I have an essay to write this week I think that good news! So I don’t know… I don’t know what I’ve done differently other than drink wine last night and the night before and chill out a little…so maybe that’s the key… to not be so intense… I’m learning slowly…but I do find that the silent subconscious can come up and bite your bum when you’re not looking…

Aster's avatar

wow; lots of answers!
After I ran to the sink in agony after eating candy I bought Sensodyne and problem solved. 20 years ago! You may have exposed roots and those react to sugar and extreme temps. Use dental floss and take a multiple vitamin. I think fish oil, esp krill oil, is the most crucial supplement we all need.
I know this is hard to believe but my clenching and grinding (bruxism) stopped when I started up again with yoga. It doesnt take a lot, either. Just a few minutes.

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kellilemieux's avatar

Crazy just looked up my symptoms and this came up I have been clenching my jaw in my sleep and sometimes in the day when I notice I stop but my gums have been throbbing lately and SO bad I also drink red bull everyday and not just one so maybe the sugar is a problem too but I see you are having the same pains as me and its not little pain I mean IT THROBS to the point I wake myself up from the pain! Have any luck with anything?? I need to go
to the dentist!

nebule's avatar

I tried not thinking about it so much. I was told by another dentist that the night guard is pointless and that they often make things worse. I do exercises when my jaw gets bad now, to strengthen the right muscles. Things are better, but not perfect naturally x

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