Just the thought alone can force us to hold the side of our face as if we were actually experiencing a toothache. Some of the worst pain a human being can endure, in fact, is the onset of a debilitating toothache and its hellish throbbing, and although the pain can present on either side of the pain spectrum, a toothache should never be ignored. There are many different reasons of course to why one would experience the unpleasantness of a toothache, but the condition mostly results from inflammation of the soft, inner part of the tooth called the pulp.
It’s where the nerves and blood vessels reside, and where the pain naturally stems from.
(Who thought it was a good idea to put nerves directly in our teeth?)
The most common causes of toothache are as follows:
- Cavities and tooth decay, a combination which results from the breakdown of the enamel of the tooth, is almost the number one reason. When a tooth is worn down, it can expose the dentine or inner layer of the tooth, and cause an immense amount of pain as a result.
- An abscessed tooth is not only something which sounds horrible, but a process that involves the pulp becoming infected. Infection normally results from the exposure of the pulp to a bevy of bacteria in the mouth and along the gums.
- A tooth fracture, which can result from an injury or biting down on something hard. This can also cause the tooth to crack or break, which as a result, causes inflammation, but it’s the direct exposure to the sensitive nerves in the pulp that cause the pain. Things like air, infection and other factors that come into contact with the pulp can see you in sever discomfort.
- Receding gums as a result of gum disease also has a similar exposing effect, where certain areas of the teeth that are normally hidden and protected, become the catalyst for pain and nasty inflammation.
- Gingivitis, periodontal disease, or gum disease which is caused by bacteria in the mouth, also cause pain and inflammation. Not only that, but they may also result in bleeding and sensitive gums and teeth. This is normally the result of bad oral hygiene but can have other motivating factors in their development.
- Hot and cold food can also cause pain, as can beverages and air sensitivity. Unlike some of the other reasons, however, this type of pain may only last a few seconds after exposure to the element but can be mild or very intense. Think ice-cream.
- Acid erosion can also expose the pulp (a key culprit) and can either result from bacteria interacting with sugar that produces acid in the mouth or stomach acid that enters the mouth from vomiting. As if vomiting wasn’t enough.
- If you are inclined to grind your teeth or clench your jaw, then this too can result in tooth pain, as well as discomfort in the jaw itself and surrounding muscles. This can also deteriorate your precious tooth enamel, which, yep, you guessed it, can cause even more tooth pain.
- Orthodontic appliances can also contribute to a pesky toothache, especially when the devices move. Braces are the culprit here.
- Wisdom teeth appear later in life and can cause some pain and discomfort as they cut through the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can result in more severe pain and should be properly addressed.
- Pregnancy, unfortunately, for such a natural process, can lead to inflammation all throughout the body and can thus result in tooth pain as well.
- Crowns can result in tooth sensitivity or pain after placement.
- Broken or damaged dental implants (like crowns, fillings, bridges, etc.) can result in toothache and pain.
- Cold sores and canker sores may also cause discomfort and tooth pain.
It’s an extensive list, and there are many things you need to consider when trying to minimise the risk for a ruthless and unhelpful toothache. That being said, and if you are experiencing toothache or pain at the moment, it is recommended to see a dentist as soon as possible. Here at Abbotsford dental, we have always pushed the idea that by leaving the problem untreated, it will only result in the condition worsening to the point of damaging your teeth further or adding to a list of unwanted complications.
And why needlessly suffer?
One of our dentists will be able to provide immediate pain relief, a return to your normal eating and drinking habits, as well as being able to resolve the initial or underlying cause of the toothache or pain itself.
It’s a no brainer.