i started having slight pain and increased sensitivity in my front left tooth about a week ago. i can't seem to leave it alone and i find myself tonguing/sucking on it, so by the end of each day, it's more aggravated and the pain is much more noticeable. the pain seems to be sourcing from the back of the tooth and deep within the gums, so sometimes if i gently slide my tongue across the back of the tooth, i feel a shock of nerve pain; it also hurts a bit to pull/push on it forwards and backwards. but what's strange is it doesn't really hurt to push up on the tooth into my gums (and eating doesn't bother me either). sometimes i feel pressure and slight pain in the teeth on either side of it too, but very rarely.
the tooth is not loose at all, i've never had any work done on it, and no trauma that i can remember (i was a nail biter for most of my life, and i still bite my cuticles from time to time, so i suppose that could be considered minor trauma). i clench my teeth when i'm stressed and sometimes when i'm sleeping but that usually only results in temporary soreness in my back teeth, however i've been using an over-the-counter mouth guard to minimize any sort of impact on the tooth just in case. i had braces about nine years ago, and i have tiny vertical fractures in most of my incisors, but dentists have always told me they're very common and nothing to be concerned over.
my dentist has been on vacation, so two days ago i went to see another dentist out of desperation. he scraped under the gum line, and tapped on each tooth (WAY harder than i would prefer, and it completely freaked me out) but that tooth didn't feel any more sensitive to the scraping and tapping than the others during this exam. he took xrays, and he couldn't really find anything wrong -- he pointed out that the thin, gray line outlining each tooth in the xray might be a little off on that tooth, but didn't really explain what it's implications were. he said the pain would probably go away on its own, and didn't give me any other options for treatment or diagnosis, except that if my tooth is heat-sensitive i would likely need a root canal (but it's not, so hopefully that's not the solution).
i immediately called my regular dentist's office to schedule an appointment with him when he returns in about a week. the receptionist there told me to take claritin D in case of a sinus issue in the meantime, but that hasn't helped either. she also offered to give me antibiotics, but i'm hesitant to take them if i don't actually have an infection (i've already had to take antibiotics twice in the last year and i don't want to become resistant in the future when i really need them) so i declined for now.
i've been taking tylenol, and it helps dull the pain, but i still feel some pressure/throbbing in the gums around the tooth. i've also started using sensodine. my theories are that i either have an infection that didn't show up in the xray, there's a crack maybe in the back of the tooth that didn't show up, or maybe some wear from cuticle biting/clenching on the back or flat biting surface of the tooth. i'm also terrified that the tooth is dying from gradual long-term trauma of nail biting. or maybe i've just been messing with it too much, and if i leave it completely alone the pain will go away like the dentist said. i started using a sonicare electric toothbrush about three days before the pain began, so i've obviously stopped using it, but i'm wondering if the few times i accidentally "buzzed" the tooth with the plastic toothbrush head could've caused it as well. i really don't know.
has anyone else experienced anything like this? i'm so afraid i'm going to lose the tooth or have to have a serious procedure done, and i'm completely terrified.