What Causes a Toothache?
A toothache can range from a mild and intermittent sensitivity to a throbbing pain that keeps you awake at night and interferes with your usual daily routine. The causes of a toothache can be something as simple as a popcorn husk lodged between a tooth and gum to a severe infection that can result in hospitalization. However, most toothaches are minor and easily treated if you see your dentist early. Some of the most common causes of a toothache are discussed below.
A dental cavity causes most toothaches. Although fluoridation of water in most communities has dramatically reduced the incidence of tooth decay, it remains the most chronic disease among young people. In addition, untreated tooth decay still affects about 25% of older adults.
Most cavities don’t cause pain when detected and treated if the decay doesn’t penetrate deeply into a tooth. Once the cavity reaches the dentin beneath the enamel, a tooth becomes sensitive. This is usually marked by sensitivity to cold and air. As the decay moves quickly through the softer dentin, it approaches the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth.
Once the nerve in your tooth becomes inflamed, the sensitivity worsens. This can result in more extreme pain to cold and air and possibly to heat. However, even with an inflamed tooth, treatment can often resolve the problem and result in no remaining symptoms.
When tooth decay approaches or enters the dental pulp, it causes an infection that affects the bone and gum surrounding the tooth. This can cause throbbing pain and mild or severe swelling. You may experience these symptoms with an abscessed tooth:
Gum disease can cause your gums to recede and expose the root of a tooth. Since the roots aren’t protected with dental enamel, an exposed root can cause mild or severe sensitivity. Gum disease also causes inflammation and swelling of your gums which may cause discomfort that feels like a toothache. Eventually, the inflammation causes an infection known as periodontitis that damages, loosens, and causes pain in your teeth.
A small and virtually invisible crack in a tooth can cause a great deal of pain, especially when chewing foods. With early treatment, many cracked teeth can be saved with a dental crown. However, a severely cracked or fractured tooth may need an extraction to relieve the pain. There are several causes of a cracked tooth, including:
It can be very difficult to tell if you have a toothache or pain coming from a sinus infection. The reason for this is that the roots of your upper back teeth are close to or in your sinus cavity. Any inflammation or infection in your sinus cavity can feel just like a toothache. Therefore, it is important to see your dentist when you experience this pain for an accurate diagnosis.
When To Call Your Dentist
If you experience pain in a tooth or other part of your mouth, it is a good idea to call your dentist for an evaluation. This is particularly true if the pain has persisted for more than a day or two. Call our office to schedule an appointment.
Green Oak Dental 281-358-6330 Kingwood, TX