A toothache is pain in or around a tooth that may be caused by a number of dental problems.
Some of these problems can be easily solved at home whereas others may require you to enlist the help of your dentist.
Misaligned teeth or impacted wisdom teeth
If your teeth are misaligned, they may press against others causing discomfort and pain. Impacted wisdom teeth, also known as wisdom teeth that have failed to break through the gum line, can also be extremely painful as they fester below the gum line and sometimes push against other teeth. If this is the case, you should bring it to the attention of your dentist. Wisdom teeth can be removed, alleviating the pain. Misaligned teeth will likely require some form of orthodontic treatment.
When fillings become damaged, the sensitive parts of teeth are exposed and vulnerable to extreme temperatures, food particles, and bacteria. This can lead to pain that can be described as anything from a dull ache to a sharp, piercing sensation. If you find that a filling has become damaged, you should book an emergency appointment with your dentist to have it fixed before the vulnerable parts of your tooth suffer further damage or decay. Your dentist may need to clean out any decay if it has occurred beneath the filling or simply place a new one.
Gum disease is characterised by a dull pain in the mouth; red, bleeding gums; and also sometimes tooth pain. Gum disease in the early stages can be detected by a swelling of the gums. Gum disease can be prevented by following a good oral care routine. If you are experiencing pain in your teeth that reaches up to your gums, contact your dentist to help rectify the issue.
An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the root of an infected tooth. An abscessed tooth is an infection within a tooth that has spread to the root tip or around the root. An abscess is formed when a tooth loses its ability to fight off infection. This will result in a widespread pulsating pain. A tooth abscess is a very serious issue and will need to be seen to as soon as possible by your dentist.
Sensitive teeth can sometimes be the result of tooth decay. As tooth decay progresses deeper into the tooth, pain can occur – typically if the decay reaches the inner chamber (pulp) of the tooth. This can often be rectified and alleviated by root canal treatment.
Your teeth can be weakened over time due to pressure from biting and chewing. Sometimes a tooth can become cracked from an accident or from biting down on something hard such as a popcorn kernel. Symptoms of a cracked tooth may include pain when biting or chewing. It may also be a sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or to sweet and sour foods. Treatment for this condition will depend on the location and direction of the crack as well as the extent of the damage.
Teeth grinding is what is also known as bruxism and usually occurs during one’s sleep or during stress. Teeth grinding can lead to jaw pain or cracked and damaged teeth, thus resulting in toothaches. If you suffer from bruxism, you may be required to wear a special mouthguard at bedtime. Your dentist will be able to assist with fitting this mouthguard.