Toothache can be caused from a variety of causes ranging from simple tooth decay and sensitivity to much worse issues such as an abscess or an injury. Understanding exactly why your toothache hurts is the very first step towards proper diagnosis and eventual treatment, and also in prevention. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with your local dentist:
Pain or Sensitivity. This is often the most difficult symptom to understand. Sometimes there will be no apparent reason for a toothache other than decay or a cavity. When this happens, the usual treatment involves removing the decay and repairing the tooth. But sometimes the pain is so bad that the patient must stay home to avoid further damage to their teeth.
Medical History. Your dentist should review your medical history and gather a detailed medical history of you and your family, including any conditions or medications you are taking, if any. Information on your family’s medical history may help determine the cause of your toothache, especially if you have a history of tooth sensitivity or have high blood pressure. Your dentist can also help determine which treatments are more likely to relieve your symptoms.
Abscess or Pit. Painless pus in the jaw area that is accompanied by tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, or tooth sensitivity combined with fever, swollen glands, or a noticeable amount of pus in the mouth are signs of an abscess or a pit. Abscesses are extremely dangerous and should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Dental Procedures. Tooth decay, weakened enamel, or dental procedures like pulling teeth can lead to cavities, which are filled with an acid solution. If these problems are not treated promptly, tooth decay and inflammation can result. In most cases, cavities can be filled with an amalgam solution, which is a safer alternative than standard tooth-care products. However, a dentist may recommend tooth extraction or other dental procedures to treat severe cases of bruxism.
Gum Infection. Periodontal diseases may lead to periodontitis, which is an infection of gums. Periodontitis can lead to loss of teeth, cavities, or other serious dental problems. If this is not treated, the bacteria from the oral cavity can travel to the bone near the gums and cause severe aching and pain. If you have a toothache, speak to your dentist about possible treatment options for your condition.
Fever. Fever can also lead to toothache in some people. If you have fever for longer than 2 weeks, talk to your dentist as soon as possible. Fever can cause a loss of minerals and affect your immune system, which can affect tooth placement, decay, and other related conditions. Your dentist will recommend treating fever with medications such as acyclovir to avoid tooth damage.
Jaw disorders. Jaw disorders such as misaligned mandible, swollen gums, and inflamed gum can lead to toothache. Some jaw disorders, such as overbite and under bite, can also contribute to pain. Speak to your dentist if you suspect you suffer from a jaw disorder that is causing toothache.
Sensitive teeth. Dentists usually treat sensitive teeth by recommending toothpaste that is designed to be gentle on sensitive gums. Other treatments include desensitizing devices, which numb the tooth before a procedure. When you have dentures, your dentist may recommend using crowns or bridges, which can both be sensitive to temperature and cleaning. Seek out help from your dentist when you have any questions or concerns regarding sensitive teeth or dentures.
Gum discomfort. There are many reasons why you may experience discomfort in your gum area. Not all cases of sensitive teeth or gum discomfort are caused by decay or gum disease. In fact, tooth sensitivity often occurs when you don’t floss regularly or brush and clean properly. Your dentist can give you advice on proper procedures for maintaining good oral hygiene, which can eliminate discomfort. Additionally, flossing can remove food particles that harbor bacteria, which increases bacteria’s exposure to your sensitive teeth.
Dental plaque. Another common cause of toothaches is buildup of bacteria or dental plaque inside your mouth. Plaque can harden and trap microscopic foods, such as plaque and calcium. If left untreated, this can lead to painful toothaches.
Gum disease. One of the most serious problems you can face is gum disease, which is commonly referred to as periodontitis. Although this condition doesn’t always lead to severe pain, it does cause significant damage to your teeth and gums. If left untreated, it can weaken your bones and reduce the flow of saliva, which can cause gingivitis. Your dentist will generally treat your periodontal disease at the same time he or she treats your wisdom teeth.