Toothaches arise when the nerves of the roots of a tooth are irritated. Dental or non-dental diseases may cause pain in any of the teeth; while some triggers of pain may include sensitivity to temperature, sensitivity to sweets, or soreness from chewing and biting foods. When you suffer from a toothache, it’s not really a good idea to do the diagnosis yourself and try treating it with over-the-counter medicines without consulting a dentist. You need an expert’s advice on the cause of the pain and let them deal with curing it.
When Should I Visit My Dentist?
You need to consult your dentist as soon as it happens! When your mouth is going through the trauma of severe pain caused by a tooth infection, you must call up the dental office to place an appointment. Normally, a toothache will persist if you put off calling the dentist, and it can go one for days, leading to fevers, and earaches. This is because the infection will start spreading to other parts of the mouth and skull, and gradually go into the bloodstream.
What Does the Dentist do?
The dentist will help in relieving the pain. You will first be asked questions regarding the pain and its intensity, when it starts, where it is located, and when it started. He or she will go through your medical history, and then conduct a full physical exam of your mouth – the teeth, gums, tongue, jaw, throat, and they will even examine the ears and nose. They may need an X-ray of your mouth, or they may take other tests to aid in diagnosing the cause of the pain. Upon finding out the reason behind the toothache, the dentist explains ways of fixing the problem in the most effective way and prescribes some medications to alleviate the pain for sometime.
What are the Causes of the Tooth’s Pain?
This will completely depend on what the dentist diagnosis. The pain in the tooth may be due to several reasons:
- Tooth decay (or cavities)
When the outer layer of your tooth, also called the enamel, is decaying, your tooth is forming a cavity. This normally occurs when plaque clings to the enamel and begins feeding on starch and sugars from the food you are eating. They produce an acid while they feed, and this acid in turn wears out the tooth enamel. The cavity slowly digs its way into the tooth’s center, until it reaches the central part, called the dentin. This region is sensitive and the pain pricks once the cavity has hit this region. Sensitivity to temperature and touch are common symptoms of tooth decay.
- Tooth fracture
The teeth tend to weaken overtime by constant wear and tear from chewing and biting. Chewing on hard food objects can make a tooth crack or chip. Such a tooth will cause pain whenever you chew on food, or when consuming hot or cold food. Even sour foods may lead to a toothache in this cause.
- Damaged filling
Fillings can crack or wear away by constant friction from chewing and grinding food. Once the filling cracks or breaks, food particles can gather under the cracked filling, leading to additional tooth decay. The dental pulp will then be infected and lead to an abscessed tooth.
- Infected gums
A gum disease is also termed as gingivitis and periodontitis. It is an infection of the gums, which leads to tooth damage and gum deterioration. The gums loosen their grip with the tooth, creating ‘pockets’ or gaps in between. These pave the way to bacteria collection. The gaps also give close access for the bacteria to reach the tooth’s roots, leading to plaque, decay, and temperature sensitivity.
- Dental abscess
Bacteria can buildup inside the pulps chamber overtime, leading to an infection that reaches till the roots of the tooth. This condition is a dental abscess. The infection causes swelling and extreme pain in the mouth.
- Inflammation of the tooth pulp
When the tissue that lies in the center of the tooth becomes inflamed and irritated, severe pangs of pain arise, leading to a condition called pulpitis. The inflammation leads to a pressure not just within the tooth, but also on the surrounding tissue.
- Impacted tooth
A tooth is impacted when it can’t move into its proper position in the mouth. Wisdom teeth are mostly impacted, since they grow in the end, and the other teeth and gums give them less space to easily grow. The tooth remains stuck underneath the gum as there is no way to accommodate the new tooth. This leads to severe pain and soreness of the jaw.
- Sensitive teeth
Some teeth may be sensitive to cold foods without having any dental infections. These are due to sensitive teeth. A dentist will recommend toothpaste for teeth sensitivity in this case, like Sensodyne, to put an end to the pain.
- Wisdom tooth growth
The growth of wisdom teeth leads to tooth pain. This is because its growth leads to immense pressure on the roots of the other teeth, and the gums rupture when they erupt. During their growth, food can be trapped in them, which leads to swelling and infections.
- Non-dental causes
Sometimes, the pain may not be due to the tooth! Sinus infections and congestions lead to discomfort and pain in the skull, which is mixed with a painful tooth.
What Treatment Will I Undergo for the Toothache?
For each of the above causes of a tooth pain, the dentist uses a different course of treatment. For example, a cavity will require filling to be done by the dentist, while infection on the pulp will require an antibiotic prescription. The type of treatment will vary and be determined by the dentist after he or she has checked for the cause.
Ways to Prevent Toothaches
Keep in mind that a tooth will be in pain due to tooth decay, which arises after negligence of dental care. A good dental hygiene practice will include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste.
- Flossing your teeth once a day.
- Rinsing your mouth 1-2 times a day with an antiseptic mouthwash.
- Consuming foods low sugar.
- Quit smoking.
- Visiting your dentist twice a year for oral examinations and professional teeth cleaning.