Spooning your way through a pint of Chubby Hubby has become an exercise in torture. When your teeth touch anything frosty, you feel a dull throb or sharp twinge.
The culprit: It's likely that the tooth's nerve has become damaged, usually because the surrounding pearly white is cracked or rotting away. Unless you get it patched up quickly, bacteria in your mouth can infect the nerve. And you definitely don't want that breeding colony to spread throughout your body, says Kimberly Harms, D.D.S., a dentist outside St. Paul, Minn.
The fix: Time for a cavity check! You may just need a filling to cover the exposed nerve. But if it's infected, you're in for a root canal, in which the tooth's bacteria-laden pulp is removed and replaced with plastic caulking material. Antibiotics can clear up any infection that has spread beyond the mouth.
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