Signs that you have nerve damage of your tooth


Teeth. What would we do without them? They’re used for chewing, talking, smiling, and are a vital element of a good first impression. Well looked after teeth indicate a clean and healthy person, whereas unclean teeth signify the opposite.


Inside each tooth is tooth pulp. Tooth pulp consists of nerve endings, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The pulp has several important functions including relaying sensory information, the formation of dentin in response to trauma, and nourishment. When tooth pulp is damaged, it begins to break down and bacteria can begin to rapidly multiply.


This excess of bacteria can cause nerve damage in your tooth.


Signs of nerve damage:



Severe and persistent toothache pain may be present when the nerve endings of a tooth are damaged. Pain when chewing or when pressure is applied should be investigated as this indicates the nerve endings of your tooth perceive an internal pressure.



A swollen gum, particular around a particular tooth is a sign of nerve damage. Healthy gums are typically shades of pink or light red, whereas colours of dark red indicate inflamed or sensitive gums. Swelling is most prominent right where the tooth meets the gum, and often the gum can begin to cover parts of the tooth.



Gumboils are small bumps or pimples that appear on the gum above teeth. Persistent or reoccurring gumboils can indicate nerve damage. Probing with your tongue or using a mirror are easy ways to discover if you are at risk.

Other symptoms that accompany gumboils include

  • Bad breath
  • Pus discharge
  • Bleeding
  • Swollen gums
  • Ear ache
  • Nausea
  • Fever


Increased sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can mean anything from a slight discomfort to prolonged and extreme tenderness. This sensitivity may be caused by the decay of the external enamel, leaving the dentil exposed to the outside world. This increased sensitivity is present when eating or drinking something hot or cold. This pain can last only seconds or continue after the food/drink is gone.

Trigger foods include:

  • Sugary foods/drinks
  • Pickles
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Hot or cold foods/drinks



Unlike what Hollywood would have you know, the colour of the outside enamel of the tooth is naturally a light grey or light yellow. However, when your tooth begins to darken to shades of dark grey, light brown, or even black, an appointment at your dentist should be booked.



Nerve damage to teeth is quite common, and some of the causes are

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Cracked teeth
  • Aggressive brushing
  • Smoking
  • Grinding of teeth



Whilst many of these symptoms are common for other dental issues, if any are present it is advised you book an appointment with your dentist.


Nerve damage is painful, however there are treatments to cure it. Tooth nerve damage is unlikely to go away on its own, so for a short term fix your dentist may advise a desensitizing toothpaste, using a soft bristled tooth brush, or a fluoride mouthwash.

Long-term treatments may be a crown, root canal, fluoride gel, dental fillings, gum draft, or bondings.




Look your best and spot the symptoms early to avoid sever nerve damage in your teeth. The dentist may be daunting, but once cured you’ll be able to smile brightly and show off those pearly whites.