Dental Health

Attitude Check: Your response to Pain in the Mouth

Pain is one of the central points of Dental practice. It is one of the commonest reasons why patients present to the Dental clinic and it is also the reason why people don’t come to the clinic. ironic right?

Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of Pain

Pain is often defined as a highly unpleasant sensation caused by illness or injury. Dental pain is often described as pain arising from or around the tooth. It has been described with terms such as excruciating, throbbing, sharp etc. it has even been compared by some to labour pain with claims of it being as severe as or even worse than labour pain. Now various people have different reactions to pain as we all have various pain thresholds. This article focuses on our attitude towards dental pain.

There are two extremes of reactions to Dental pain

  1. There are a majority of people who do not bother about their oral health until pain comes knocking on the door. Their slogan is “no pain no problem “
    It is only pain of a severe degree that can take them to the Dental clinic; the type that doesn’t allow you sleep at night.
    Having this kind of attitude towards Dental pain is not healthy. As we know generally about our health, early presentation and early diagnosis mean a better outcome.
    For a tooth to get to the level of pain that wakes you up at night, it must have gone through various stages. Firstly there will be a small hole on the tooth that might not be visible to you but could be visualized on Dental examination by a Dentist. This will progress to a hole that you can probably see and feel. You begin to notice food getting stuck and sometimes a bad odour from decaying food stuck there. Then there begins to be a slight pain of short duration only when stimulated for example on taking cold water. This progresses further to pain which lasts long when for example you are chewing on something, to spontaneous pain which is always there but might be relieved on taking medications. This still can progress to a severe pain not relieved by medications and hinders sleep at night.
    It is better to present to the clinic as soon as you notice any of the above stages.


  1. There are a group of people who are afraid of Dental treatment as a result of pain. They have a Dental phobia and Dental anxiety. To make matters worse they might have heard stories of people who had not too good experiences with their Dentist, and of course, bad media sells better.
    If you are one of such persons, firstly relax it’s not at all Bad as you think. Dentists are not Monsters who enjoy seeing you in pain. With the advent of anaesthesia, Dentistry has basically become painless.

Lastly, I would like to correct another attitude; the one that thinks the treatment for all Dental pain and issues is to remove the tooth. I often see patients who come to the clinic and their first complaint is to pull their tooth. This is a very wrong notion. There are arrays of treatment options for any Dental issue, and it is important to note that tooth Extraction is at the bottom of the list. That is it is the option chosen when nothing else can be done for your tooth. So next time you walk into a Dental clinic, explore your options and don’t jump to telling your Dentist to remove your tooth.

I hope you found this useful? Join us next time as we begin another exciting series!

Read the Previous edition  Attitude Check: Your Car vs Your Mouth

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Dr. Eureka Orhorhoro
Dr. Eureka Orhorhoro is an amazing Dentist, with a strong passion for Health Care Advancement in Nigeria. She believes that the right information is crucial in improving Oral health care and she is ready to make a global difference. she loves reading, baking & cooking.

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