Toothache: Causes, Treatment and Prevention
All people, at least once in their life, have experienced toothache. It can range from a simple discomfort to a disabling or nerve-racking pain.
Toothache, also known as tooth pain, is the pain felt in your tooth and its surrounding tissues, the gums. The pain is often described as sudden-onset, sharp, throbbing pain and may radiate to your head causing headache. Pain may be acute or chronic depending on its underlying cause. It may be accompanied by gum swelling around the affected tooth and fever.
Toothache serves as a symptom of an existing dental health problem. The pain in your teeth can be caused by different factors like:
- Tooth decay – When bacteria combines with sugar in your mouth, they produce acid that wears out the tooth’s enamel and cause cavities or holes in the tooth’s surface. When cavities attract bacteria, they will attack the different tooth structures thus resulting to tooth pain.
- Periodontal diseases – When gums are inflamed, they start to swell thus causing pain not only in the surrounding tissues of the tooth but also to the tooth itself.
- Tooth abscess – The pulp of your tooth houses the nerves and blood vessels of your tooth. When it becomes infected, it could lead to tooth abscess. Since the pulp houses the tooth’s nerves, infection in this area could result to an overwhelming tooth pain.
- Wisdom tooth – When it starts to erupt, it is usually accompanied by pain. When the wisdom tooth grows impacted, it can cause pressure to its adjacent teeth thus resulting to tooth pain.
- A damaged dental filling.
You should visit your dentist when the pain persists longer than two days, is severe and is accompanied by fever, ear pain and jaw pain. Toothache is treated by managing its underlying causes. Its treatment includes:
- Dental fillings are used to fill the holes caused by dental caries. They prevent the bacteria from invading the different tooth structures.
- Scaling and root planing treatment is done to remove plaque and tartar thus managing the tooth pain.
- Root canal therapy is done to remove the infected pulp tissues thus removing the source of tooth pain.
- Wisdom tooth extraction eliminated the pressure it puts to its adjacent teeth thus alleviating the tooth pain.
- A damaged filling is removed and replaced another dental filling. If not possible, a dental crown is used.
Because prevention is always better than cure, it is best that you know how to avoid toothache/tooth pain. Since tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common cause of toothache, it is a must to practice good oral hygiene. Taking care of your teeth includes brushing them regularly with the use of fluoride-rich toothpaste, flossing at least once a day and going to dental check-ups at least twice a year for professional cleaning and dental examinations.