Whether you have sudden and sharp or dull and constant tooth pain is something hard to ignore. Toothache or tooth pain is caused when the nerve in the tooth’s root is irritated. However, there are numerous other reasons for an individual to experience tooth pain.
Dental injury, infection, decay, cracked teeth, poorly placed crowns or fillings, or loss of a tooth are a few of the common causes of dental pain. You might also have pain after tooth extraction.
Sometimes, your pain can originate from other areas and radiate to your mouth and jaw, causing tooth pain. Bacteria and plaque growing inside your mouth can also contribute to dental decay and gum disease. Both these issues could cause pain. Often, gum diseases will not result in any pain.
What Causes a Tooth Pain?
Toothaches occur from inflammation of the central portion of your tooth, known as the pulp. This pulp contains nerve endings of your teeth and therefore are very sensitive to pain.
The pain could have originated in other areas, which might appear as tooth pain. The most common affected areas include the jaw joint or TMJ, sinuses, ear pain, and occasional heart problems.
Pregnancy may also be a risk for tooth problems resulting in a toothache. As there are fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy, tooth decay and pregnancy gingivitis are common among women.
You can prevent most of these dental problems through basic oral hygiene home care. You need to floss and brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste. In addition, you should also get your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year.
During the visit, your dentist may apply sealants and fluoride, which are especially helpful for kid’s teeth. They can also be valuable to adults and senior citizens.
Listed below are a few common causes of tooth pain:
- Tooth cavities or tooth decay
- Temperature sensitivity – cold or hot liquids or foods
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- Abscessed tooth
- Orthodontic movement due to braces
- Impacted wisdom tooth
- After a crown treatment, the treated tooth might sometimes become sensitive.
- Periodontal disease
- During pregnancy
- gum recession, exposure of the tooth root that was covered by gum
- Acid erosion
- Tooth fracture
- Broken or damaged fillings or crowns
- Cold sore or canker sore
What Symptoms Accompany a Tooth Pain?
Jaw pain and tooth pain are common complaints. It is not unusual if you feel a mild pain from hot or cold exposure to the tooth. If the pain is severe, intolerable, or persists for longer than 10 seconds after the temperature exposure, it might indicate a more serious issue.
If you have severe tooth inflammation, the pain may radiate to your face, ears, cheek, or jaw. The symptoms could be the following that might lead you to seek care immediately:
- Pain while chewing food.
- Teeth sensitivity to hot or cold food and liquids.
- Bleeding or discharge from around the affected gums or tooth.
- Swelling around the tooth or the jaw area or cheek.
- Any kind of injury or trauma to the site.
These signs and symptoms are commonly associated with tooth decay or gum disease, often called periodontal disease. If you have tooth decay or there is redness around the gum line – it might clearly point to the source of pain.
If your dentist taps on an infected tooth, it may intensify the pain. This sign might point to the problem tooth even if your tooth appears normal from the outside.
If you have a toothache, it needs to be differentiated from other sources of pain in your face. Sinusitis, ear or throat ear pain, or an injury to the TMJ – can be confused with toothache.
The pain in your tooth might also occur from a deeper structure passed along your nerve and is felt in the jaw or tooth. To pinpoint the exact source of the pain and get relief, an evaluation by your dentist is appropriate.
Could It Be Sensitive Teeth?
As you might know, your healthy teeth have a hard outer layer of tooth enamel covering them to protect the nerves inside. This enamel can wear away as you age. When the middle layer of your tooth gets exposed, anything you drink or eat can reach your nerve endings easily. This condition leads to sensitive teeth.
Additionally, severe gum disease can make your teeth sensitive. Your gums will shrink away from your teeth, creating pockets in such scenarios. This process results in the exposure of the tooth roots of your affected teeth. Moreover, if you often brush too hard, you can also damage your gums.
If your teeth have been recently cleaned or you have undergone a new filling, it could also make your teeth sensitive for a few weeks. Many feel it even after a teeth whitening procedure. If your old filling is damaged or loose can cause sensitive teeth leading to tooth pain.
Dental Procedures to Resolve Tooth Pain?
Once your dentist diagnoses the cause of your toothache, they will explain what procedure is involved in fixing the problem.
Sometimes, there can be various options to treat the conditions. For example, if you have decay and cavity formation, the primary treatment is generally restorative therapy. Meaning the decay removal by drilling, followed by tooth filling of the removed area with some strong material.
For irreversible pulpitis, your dentist may choose to perform a root canal treatment. This procedure can help restore your damaged tooth. For an abscess, incision and drainage of the infected pocket may be the only therapy.
Lastly, for a cracked tooth, your dentist will base the treatment depending on the location of your crack. It could also depend on the extent of the damage.
In addition, in case of a fractured cusp, your dentist might place a new dental crown or tooth filling over the cracked tooth to protect it. Likewise, for a cracked tooth, the same procedure applies.
Your dentist might perform a root canal procedure for a cracked tooth that does not extend below the gum line. Finally, your dentist will place a crown to prevent the crack from spreading further. For cracks that are even more severe, extraction may be necessary.
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When to Seek Medical Care for a Tooth Pain?
You should call your dentist for advice when you encounter any of the following issues:
1 When your tooth pain is not relieved by over-the-counter medications. Even when it is relieved, you might still require a dental evaluation to treat the teeth better. So visit your dentist at the earliest.
2 If you experience a severe ache that lasts for more than two days after an extraction, it is possible that your tooth socket has not healed properly. This condition known as dry socket syndrome might have occurred, and you should consult your dentist immediately.
3 The pain might be associated with swelling of the gums. There also could be chances that you might have had a discharge around the affected tooth. A fever is another symptom of dental disease.
These symptoms might indicate an infection in the gum, the tooth or the surrounding area. It might also reveal the presence of an abscess, and your dentist may perform a root canal treatment.
4 You might have heard about knocked-out or broken teeth as they are quite common. The sooner you seek medical treatment, the risk of infection is diminished and your tooth might have a higher chance of being saved.
It is particularly applicable for kids who have damaged their primary teeth. Their affected baby teeth should be treated right away so that it does not affect their upcoming adult teeth.
5 Wisdom teeth are also a common cause of pain. When your wisdom teeth come out, inflammation of the gum around the erupted crown is often seen.
This could lead to gum infection. You may also notice a swelling in the affected area as the jaw cannot close properly. In severe cases, you may have pain in the throat and in the mouth, making swallowing difficult.
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Tests for Tooth Pain
Your dentist will do a thorough oral examination and understand your medical history for a correct diagnosis. Sometimes your dentist may take periapical and panorex views of your teeth and jaw for detailed examination.
Your dentist may also do lab evaluation, including ECG tracings of your heart to assist in the diagnosis. If your cause is something other than a dental or jaw problem, your doctor may prescribe drugs related to the problem. If the condition is more severe, your doctor might refer you to a dentist for further treatment.
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Are There Home Remedies for Toothaches?
Most of you might be using over-the-counter pain medications for relieving pain. In addition, you should avoid very hot or cold foods because they might make the pain worse. The typical home remedy for pain relief is to bite on a cotton ball soaked in clove oil. You can find clove oil in most drugstores. You can also try eucalyptus oil instead.
You can also try garlic during tooth pain. Garlic contains the chemical allicin, which functions like a natural antibiotic and helps fight a tooth infection. If you include more garlic through supplementation or in your daily food, you can quickly decrease the vulnerability to disease.
To help reduce toothache, crush garlic and mix it into a paste with a bit of salt and apply to the affected area. This will not cure the infection but may help to decrease the pain. The steps help prevent the condition from growing or spreading. Applying medicated relief gel to the affected area can provide pain relief in some instances.