What is a "hot tooth"?

No, it's not an insanely good looking tooth.

What is a hot tooth?

The term “hot tooth” isn’t a technical dental term. It’s more of a simplified descriptor. This term describes patients with a very painful tooth that has a difficult time getting or remaining numb.

Why is it so painful?

A tooth infection irritates the nerve fibres in and around the tooth. Any stimulation of these fibres registers as pain in the brain. This irritation often exasperates in the presence of hot or cold foods and sometimes even pressure. In severe cases, the pain is spontaneous.

Why is it not getting numb?

A tooth infection creates an acidic environment around the tissues, but anaesthetics work best in a less acidic environment. Anaesthetic undergoes a favourable chemical change in a less acidic environment, allowing for effective tooth numbing.

The dentist may need to opt for a more potent anaesthetic or one that contains more epinephrine to numb a “hot tooth”. Additional forms of anaesthesia are sometimes appropriate for total patient comfort.

How can I prevent it?

Most “hot tooth” infections start as cavities. Maintaining oral hygiene, going to dental appointments, and getting fillings as recommended is key to preventing larger infections.

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