A toothache is any ache, pain, or soreness inside or around the tooth. While there are many different types of toothaches, they all have one thing in common – they’re all an unpleasant, annoying, and frustrating part of dental health. And some may even need an emergency dentist.
Toothaches can have mild to severe pain, either in the tooth or it can radiate out to the jaw, ear, or cheek area. Some toothaches hurt more from the pressure of eating, while others feel worse with hot or cold stimuli. The toothache pain can be sharp and sudden before slowly fading away, or it might be a dull persistent ache that is constantly there. And some toothaches are infinitely worse when you lay down to sleep at night.
So from decay or infection, to fracture or misalignment, here are the most common reasons for toothaches.
Also called a cavity, tooth decay is by far the most common cause of painful toothaches. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria which creates a cavity or hole in the hard enamel of the tooth’s outer layer. The toothache pain becomes much sharper if the cavity damages the inner layer of dentin, which can cause an abscess if not treated fast enough.
An abscess happens when bacteria infects the root and creates a pocket of dead tissue. The resulting damage and inflammation cause extensive pain with pulsating sensations so severe it can be difficult to ascertain which tooth is causing it. A tooth abscess is a very serious issue which can lead to bone or tissue loss.
A tooth fracture is a crack, split, chip, any kind of damage to the tooth. This can happen in many different ways, from biting down on something hard or an injury after a fall. Painful tooth fractures can also develop slowly as the damage gets worse over time, resulting in excruciating pain after reaching nerve endings. That’s why all chips and fractures should be checked by a dentist.
Discomfort and sensitivity of your teeth when they are exposed to hot or cold is caused when the material inside the tooth is exposed. Called dentin, this is tissue located beneath the outer enamel layer and covering the root. Dentin is typically exposed by cavities, fractures, worn fillings, or receding gums.
Also called gingivitis, the bacteria from red and bleeding gum infections can build up and cause a disease called periodontitis. This causes inflammation and dull pain in the gum tissue and the oral bone. If these are left untreated, they may eventually require oral surgery to remove the infection or disease from the mouth.
Grinding or clenching
Also called bruxism, grinding and clenching can be genetic, stress-induced, or from over-developed muscles in the jaw which causes an aching pain in the teeth, gums, jaw, and head. This can cause cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth, and eventually wear the tooth down by erosion.
Misaligned or Impacted tooth
While most new teeth have caused some growing pains in surrounding teeth or the gums and jaw, this pain can be much worse when the tooth is misaligned or impacted. This happens when there’s not enough room to accommodate the tooth or it’s growing the wrong way like sideways. Whether the pressure pushes other teeth out of place or it remains stuck beneath the gum, the result is periods of dull aches and intense pain.
What can you do about toothaches?
Minor toothaches that go away quickly may be okay to take care of yourself with some over the counter painkillers, but more serious toothaches that last longer will need professional treatment. And while some toothaches might seem minor, they can sometimes lead to something much more painful over time.
While toothaches are often extremely painful and uncomfortable, it typically isn’t a permanent problem as long as it’s treated early. The correct diagnosis of your toothache is just as important as the treatment of whatever is causing it. If you’ve got a toothache that isn’t getting any better, it’s definitely time to call your dentist.
At Aesthetic Dental and Denture Clinic, we can provide a wide range of AfterPay dental treatments for toothaches using our state of the art equipment and pain-free techniques. Whether you need a tooth extraction, dental veneers, a regular check-up, or want to know the cost of dental implants, our highly trained dental hygienists and professional Camden dentists will look after you.