Gum Pain Between Teeth: Potential Causes & Instant Relieve

Gum pain between teeth
Oral pain, whether affecting the teeth or gums, can be highly discomforting and disrupt our daily routines. Among the sensitive areas in our mouths, the gums between teeth are especially vulnerable to problems due to their delicate nature. Even something as simple as food getting stuck in this area can cause significant discomfort and pain.

Improving your oral hygiene is the first step to address this problem. However, if the pain persists despite your efforts, seeking professional help is essential.

In this article, we will delve into the various potential causes of gum pain between teeth, explore the associated symptoms, and discuss the most effective treatment approaches.

The Delicate Nature of Gums Between Teeth

The gum between our teeth, also known as interdental papillae, forms a triangular-shaped gum protrusion that follows the contours of our teeth. These papillae exist both in the front and back of each tooth.

Teeth contact point and surrounding papilla

Connecting the front and back triangular-shaped papillae between two teeth is a fragile tissue called the Col. Unlike the gums surrounding the teeth, the Col lacks a protective layer called keratin, making it more vulnerable to damage.

Now, these papillae and the contact between teeth play a vital role as a protective barrier, preventing food buildup in that area. When this barrier is compromised due to issues like receding gums or cavities, the space between the teeth becomes more susceptible to damage and breakdown.

Potential causes of pain between gums:

A gum between the teeth that hurts is a common occurrence that anyone can experience. Possible causes include:

1. Accumulation of food debris between the teeth

Under healthy conditions, teeth are properly aligned, and they touch each other through contact points, acting as a protective barrier for the gums between the teeth.

However, various factors can lead to the loss of these contact points, such as cavities, dental trauma, misalignment, or poorly fitted fillings or crowns.

When teeth no longer touch properly, food can get trapped in the spaces between them, irritating the gums and causing inflammation.

This inflammation can result in moderate pain that persists as long as food remains stuck in these spaces, particularly intensifying during meals.

Additionally, you may experience a bad taste in your mouth, and at times, the pain can spread to your jaws.

How do I know if my teeth are touching each other properly?

Flossing between two teeth with appropriate contact points

You know your teeth's contact points are fine when you hear a "clicking" sound as you gently pull the floss down and out. This sound indicates that the contact points between your teeth are well-established.
However, if the floss tears, cannot penetrate the interdental space, or slides in without making the "clicking" sound, it indicates an issue with the areas between your teeth that need a fix.

Treatment approach:

  1. Gently clean between teeth using an interdental brush or water flosser. Removing any trapped food particles will often result in immediate relief.

  2. Make sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive gums. These products can help manage discomfort and promote overall gum health.

  3. If the issue persists despite your best efforts, it's time to visit your dentist for professional evaluation and treatment. They may recommend a deep dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the gum line. Additionally, dental bonding might be suggested to restore the contact points between your teeth.

2. Cavities

Consider cavities as another potential cause of pain between teeth. This condition often occurs in these tight spaces that are hard to clean effectively during brushing, making them easy to decay.

Initially, you might experience sensitivity to sweet foods and hot or cold temperatures. But if left untreated, the decay can advance to the tooth's pulp, where nerves and blood vessels are present. At this stage, the pain can get much worse.

To control and prevent cavity formation in these areas, regular dental visits and consistent flossing are essential measures.

Treatment approach:

Addressing cavities cannot be procrastinated. They must be addressed promptly by a professional to avoid further complications. Treatment options include:

  1. Dental filling: A dental material, typically composite, is used to fill the cavity, restoring both the appearance and function of the tooth.

  2. Dental crown: If the tooth is severely damaged, a dental crown, which is a cap that covers the entire tooth, may be needed.

  3. Root canal: If the decay reaches the pulp, root canal therapy may be required. This procedure involves removing the tooth's nerves, cleaning and shaping the root canals, and ultimately restoring the tooth.

3. Receding gums:

Receding gums happen when the gums pull away from the teeth, revealing longer roots. As exposed roots are more vulnerable, you may start experiencing sensitivities to cold, hot, and sour foods or pressure.

Moreover, the breakdown of the protective gum layer between teeth means more food build-up in that area. This can lead to additional irritation, discomfort, and pain.

Treatment options:

  1. Improve your Oral Hygiene: Switching to a softer toothbrush and practicing proper brushing and flossing techniques can help prevent further gum recession and maintain gum health.

  2. Deep dental cleaning: This procedure helps remove plaque and tartar, the main culprits of gum disease.

  3. Dental bonding: In this procedure, a tooth-colored resin material is applied to the teeth to fill the gaps left by receding gums, thus improving the appearance of the teeth.

  4. Gum Grafting: In severe cases, a gum grafting procedure may be performed to restore and cover the exposed root surfaces, reducing sensitivity and protecting the teeth.

4. Gum infection

Gum infection is a dental emergency that demands immediate treatment. Several factors can lead to gum infections, including:

1. Gingivitis:

Gingivitis is the mild form and early stage of gum disease. It is characterized by inflammation resulting from the accumulation of plaque and bacteria along the gum line.

Common symptoms include redness, swelling, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums.

Gingivitis is usually reversible with proper oral hygiene, such as regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings. However, if left untreated, it can progress to more severe forms of gum disease (periodontitis).

2. Gingival Abscess:

A gingival abscess is a localized infection within the gum tissue. It occurs when there is a buildup of pus in a pocket or sac within the gums.

This can result from food particles (such as popcorn), foreign objects (such as toothpicks), or tartar getting trapped and causing an infection.

The telltale signs of gingival abscess are pain, swelling, and a clear fluid leaking from the gum line. Other symptoms include redness, bad taste, headache, and fever.

Treatment typically involves draining the abscess and administering antibiotics if necessary.

3. Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG):

ANUG is a severe and painful form of gingivitis. It is characterized by rapid and extensive gum tissue destruction and the formation of painful ulcers and necrotic (dead) areas on the gums.

The condition is often associated with factors like poor oral hygiene, smoking, stress, and compromised immune systems.

You might notice that the triangular gums between your teeth look a bit off. They could appear pierced, ulcerated, and sometimes even have this grayish layer that shows dead tissue. Other symptoms include severe pain, bad breath, bleeding gums, and a distinct metallic taste.

Treatment involves professional dental cleaning, antibiotic therapy, and pain management. Prompt dental care is crucial to prevent further tissue damage and potential systemic complications.

How to Get Instant Relief from Gum Pain?

When gum pain strikes, finding quick relief is a top priority. Here are some helpful home tips to alleviate discomfort:
  1. OTC Painkillers: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce gum pain and inflammation. Follow the recommended dosage on the label.

  2. Saltwater Rinse: Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater (dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) to soothe irritated gums and promote healing.

  3. Clove Oil: Applying a small amount of diluted clove essential oil to the painful area can provide temporary relief, as clove oil has natural analgesic properties.

  4. Apply Cold Compresses: Placing a cold compress near the painful area can help reduce inflammation and numb the discomfort.

  5. Gently Brush and Clean Between Your Teeth: Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential, but be gentle when brushing and flossing around the affected area to avoid further irritation. Opt for a soft toothbrush and use toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive gums. These measures will help protect your gums and ensure a comfortable oral care routine.