Toothache is the pain felt in or around the teeth. Toothache is a factor that makes people finally visit the dentist. It can be constant or may occur periodically depending on the cause. Usually, it begins suddenly and can vary from mild to severe pain. Toothache should never be ignored. If the toothache is caused by tooth decay, it can make the condition of the tooth worst if left untreated.
In this article, we will discuss the causes, treatment and prevention for the same.
Toothache can be mainly caused by tooth decay. If left untreated, it may lead to an abscessed tooth (pulp of the tooth is infected). Other causes of toothache includes:
- Gum disease: Swollen, red and bleeding when brushing are the early sign of gum disease. Gum disease in early stage is called gingivitis and in advanced stage is called periodontitis, where the jaw bone that surrounds teeth starts damaging.
- Damaged or fractured tooth: Damaged or fractured tooth exposes dentin, the next layer of the tooth after enamel. Due to this, your tooth becomes sensitive that will cause pain when taking hot or cold food/drinks, and even when you breath through your mouth.
- Dental treatment: If any deep filling or crown has been done recently, your tooth may feel more sensitive. But this sensitivity disappear within couple of days.
- Crunching or grinding teeth: Crunching and grinding teeth can damage the enamel, the shiny and hard layer of the teeth, thus exposing the dentin layer that makes the teeth sensitive and vulnerable to tooth decay.
- Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses): As the roots of the upper teeth (molars) are close to sinus cavities, inflammation from this sinusitis can cause upper teeth to feel more sensitive and makes us feel like toothache.
- Wisdom tooth: Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to erupt. If the wisdom tooth does not have enough space or room to emerge, it is called as impacted wisdom tooth. This can cause pain and pushes the front tooth (second molars) and make it more vulnerable to infections.
Treatment depends on the cause of toothache. The dentist examines, and cavities if any are easily visible. They may clean fill those cavities. In some cases, the dentist may get an X-ray image. If he finds the cavity is deep and gone through the pulp, then he will perform a root canal treatment. This involves removal of the infected nerves and replace it with a filling material. Finally, it is restored with a dental crown.
To avoid toothache and other dental problems, the best way is to keep your gums and teeth healthy. This includes:
- Brush your teeth twice daily or after every meal.
- Use a toothpaste that contains an appropriate amount of fluoride.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing removes the tiny food particles from between the teeth.
- Limit the intake of sugary and starchy food which is the main cause of tooth decay.
- Visit the dentist every six months.