What Causes Toothache

Posted on : 18-07-2014 | By : Haddon Suttner | In : Healthy Food, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry

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Toothache is one of the most common dental complaints the world over. It is often the top reason people finally visit a dentist. If we were to ask 10 people what is the cause for toothaches, 9 of them would blame it on tooth decay.

What Causes Toothache

Top 10 Causes of Toothache

1. Tooth decay is the most common cause of a toothache. Small cavities that affect only the outer coating of the tooth are usually painless. But when the decay penetrates through the enamel and affects the inner layer of the tooth you tooth becomes extremely sensitive. In advanced stages the decay progresses deeper into the innermost layer resulting in intense, sharp pain. Infection from a decayed tooth can cause death of the pulp tissue and cause an abscess below the root of the tooth.

2. We all know gum disease causes red, swollen, bleeding gums. But advanced gum disease can cause toothache even in an otherwise healthy tooth too. Gum infection causes inflammation of the gum and bone tissues leading to swelling, loss of bone around the teeth and a dull pain. Gum abscess that may occur in most advanced stages of gum disease may also cause pain.

3. Falls or accidents could cause fractured or broken teeth, which you may or may not notice at that time. However, they are almost certain to cause severe toothache when the fracture line runs through the pulp of the teeth. Even if the fracture line is not very deep, plaque and bacteria can get accumulated in the crack and cause tooth decay.

4. Sometimes you may experience pain in your tooth which has no obvious signs of fracture and is also not affected by cavity or advanced gum disease. This could be due to a concealed crack/fracture of the tooth that is too small to be even seen on X-rays. This is called cracked tooth syndrome which may occur due to bad chewing habits, teeth grinding, tooth injury, weakening of tooth due to large fillings, etc. Sometimes during a root canal treatment the tooth may crack from the pressure applied. Such cracked tooth causes severe pain when you chew.

5. Tooth grinding can wear down or chip your teeth and put excess force on the tissues supporting them causing pain not only in the teeth but also in the jaw joints and muscles.

6. Improper tooth brushing and gum disease cause the gums around the tooth to detach or recede.  This causes the roots of the tooth to be exposed and can cause extreme sensitivity to cold, hot, and sour foods. Acidic drinks can also further erode the roots and aggravate the sensitivity.

7. Chances are that you may have misaligned or impacted wisdom teeth i.e. they fail to erupt partially/completely through the gum line. When a wisdom tooth erupts it may cause pain if there is not enough space for it to erupt. It may also put pressure on the adjacent tooth and cause a dull ache. A partially erupted wisdom tooth is also difficult to clean. Bacteria grow on the food that accumulates under the soft tissue flap around it, leading to a pericoronitis which causes swelling and redness of the gum with diffuse pain. If untreated, it can lead to serious infections and severe pain.

8. When your teeth are not aligned properly there is uneven distribution of forces on the teeth and thus inflammation of the nerves in the teeth causing pain.

9. Orthodontic treatment could often cause pain for brief periods of time when the braces are adjusted or tightened.

10. A toothache may also be caused by a problem that is not related to a tooth or the jaw. There are some conditions elsewhere in the body that can cause pain that is referred to a tooth. During a sinus infection, the pressure from your sinuses is referred as a dull ache to your upper back teeth due to their close proximity to the teeth. In rare cases, a toothache or jaw pain may be a sign of a heart attack. Toothache may also be referred from trigeminal neuralgia which is characterised by episodes of intermittent, intense shooting pain in the face.

You may call Dr. Haddon Suttner for any type of dental problem on 02 9365 6197  or visit our the website Dentist Bondi.

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