What is a toothache or tooth pain?
Tooth pain, or a toothache, is simply that: pain in or around a tooth caused with then nerves of the tooth are inflamed or irritated.
What are the symptoms of a toothache?
Painful or sensitive teeth can be the result of tooth fractures, periodontal disease, or dental decay.
Toothaches are often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain resulting only when pressure is applied to the tooth or when you bite down
- Swelling around the tooth or of the jaw
- A foul taste in the mouth caused by drainage from the infected tooth
- Cold or heat sensitivity
- Tenderness or ache in or around your tooth
What causes tooth pain?
Tooth pain or toothaches can result from several causes ranging from tooth development (in small children) or minor injury to the tooth—such as biting into something hard or flossing too roughly—to more serious underlying conditions.
Causes of toothaches may include:
- Tooth Decay. Tooth decay is the most common reason for a painful toothache. However, for the tooth and the surrounding area to be in pain, the tooth decay would need to be significant enough to reach the inner layer of the tooth (the dentin). When this has happened, the tooth becomes very sensitive and a cavity has formed.
- Abscessed Tooth. When tooth decay advances to the point of affecting the root beneath the visible part of the tooth, there’s a high probability that the root and the surrounding tissue have become infected, resulting in widespread, pulsating pain.
- Tooth Fracture. Teeth can be cracked or chipped in many different ways. If you’re experiencing pain in a fractured tooth, the fracture has made its way to the middle of the tooth where the nerve endings are. Note that this may not happen as soon as the tooth is damaged, but can develop over time as the damage becomes worse.
- Damaged Filling. A dental filling protects vulnerable parts of a tooth and, when it becomes damaged, the sensitive parts of the tooth are exposed to extreme temperatures, food particles, and bacteria. This can result in pain that can be anywhere from dull to sharp.
- Grinding Teeth. Teeth grinding is a common cause of tooth pain and can lead to sore jaw bones and joints, headaches, and even cracked or chipped teeth.
Toothaches can also result from the loss of a tooth, such as after an extraction, when the nerves of surrounding teeth have been jarred or exposed.
Sometimes tooth pain is pain from other areas that has radiated to the jaw, where it seems to be a toothache. Ear pain, sinuses, and the temporomandibular joint—or jaw joint—can all develop pain that, over time, may seem to originate at the tooth.
How long will a toothache last?
There is really no way to tell how long a toothache will last. If it is simply the result of biting or brushing too hard, it may subside immediately or shortly after. If it is caused by something more serious, the pain may come and go, but never really go away completely.
Chances are if you are experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, there is probably an underlying reason that needs attention. Putting off going to the dentist will most likely exacerbate the problem, leave you in pain longer, or even progress into something else even more painful. When in doubt, schedule a visit with your dentist so he or she can identify the cause of your pain and provide some appropriate treatment options.
When should I be worried about my tooth pain or toothache?
If your toothache pain is severe, does not respond to over-the-counter pain relief, or lasts longer than 1 or 2 days, you should consult your dentist. Another cause for concern is if you are also experiencing an earache, fever, or pain when opening your mouth.
How is toothache treated?
The toothache treatment options depend primarily on the cause of the tooth pain, which can only be determined by a dentist. If your dentist determines a cavity is causing your discomfort, you will need to have the cavity filled or the tooth extracted. If the tooth’s nerve is infected, you may need antibiotics and/or a root canal. A root canal is a dental procedure that removes the infected pulp of a tooth—the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth—then cleans and seals the tooth.
There are things you can do at home to treat your tooth pain while you wait for an appointment. Avoid very hot, cold, or hard foods, and use an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Treating Toothaches and Tooth Pain with Dental Depot DFW
Don’t let toothaches or tooth pain keep you down. Dental Depot DFW makes getting the dental care you need fast, easy, and convenient with four metro locations, flexible scheduling, and Saturday appointments. From routine dental cleanings and checkups to emergency dental care, Dental Depot DFW’s caring and professional staff in Dallas, Lewisville, Aubrey, The Colony, McKinney, Arlington, and Highland Village are ready to help. Find your nearest location or schedule your appointment today.