Toothache refers to the pain in or around one’s tooth. Blood vessels, nerves, and tissues fill a soft material found inside the tooth called the pulp. Pulp nerves are sensitive, and they cause severe pain when irritated or infected. Mild toothache can come from a gum irritation that one can treat at home. Severe toothache pain, however, can be a symptom of dental and mouth conditions. These kinds of toothache will not heal on its own and will need a dentist’s intervention.
Toothache can come with other symptoms, including throbbing tooth pain, fever, headache, swelling around the tooth, pus, foul mouth odor, and bad-tasting drainage from the tooth. You can also experience constant sharp pain when biting, aching due to sweet food, tingly teeth, jaw pain, and swelling gums. These symptoms can be a sign that you have a damaged tooth.
This article lists the common causes of tooth pain.
1. Tooth decay
Most cases of tooth pain are caused by tooth decay, also called a cavity. Tooth decay occurs when the hard enamel outer layer of your tooth gets eaten by bacteria. Bacteria often happen in an average, healthy body, but too much bacteria is not good for overall health. Eating certain foods like the sugary ones promotes the rise of bad bacteria in your teeth. Bacteria produce plaque that clings to your teeth. It also has an acid that can puncture your teeth, leading to cavity pain. Tooth decay may appear as tiny brown, black, or white spots on the teeth, if left untreated, may cause excruciating pain.
2. Tooth abscess
Tooth pain can be a result of an abscessed tooth. When a portion or all of the pulp in one’s tooth dies, an abscessed tooth occurs. An abscess refers to pus and a pocket of bacteria produced by dead tissues. An abscess comes from tooth inflammation or infection. A tooth that has a crack or hole can bring about tooth abscess if not treated immediately. The presence of bacteria in the damaged tooth is the main reason for tooth abscesses.
3. Tooth fracture
Biting on something hard can result in the tooth getting split or cracked. It is called a tooth fracture, and it can lead to toothache pain. Tooth fracture can also result from pushing the teeth against a hard surface, such as when falling or getting hit in the face.
When a tooth is fractured, substances like food, water, and bacteria can irritate or infect the pulp and nerves, provoking pain. One must see a dentist right away once you experience a tooth fracture.
4. Gum infection
Gum infection also called gingivitis, is a common cause of tooth pain. Infected gums can bring about periodontitis or gum disease. Among adults, gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss. Gum disease can slim the gums away from the teeth. It can also decay the bones that keep the teeth in place. When this happens, cavities and loosen teeth may occur. A gum infection can come from smoking, poor mouth hygiene, unhealthy diet, genetics, hormonal changes, certain medications, certain health conditions, and cancer treatment.
5. Grinding or clenching teeth
Bruxism, or grinding the teeth, commonly happens during sleep. Grinding and clenching can be a result of genetics, stress, and overdeveloped jaw muscles. Grinding and clenching do induce not only toothache pain but also gum and jaw pain. They can wear away the tooth and start tooth erosion. Tooth erosion can bring about fractured teeth, cavities, and toothache. Signs of tooth erosion consist of yellowing teeth, rounded teeth, sensitive teeth, dented teeth, thinning teeth, and small cracks on the teeth edges.
6. Loose crown
A crown is a cover with a tooth-shaped appearance that coats the whole tooth through the gumline. Someone with a broken tooth is typically advised to wear a crown. A cap can also be placed due to cavity pain. Instead of a filling, a cavity that is too big is being treated by a cap. A crown can be made from porcelain, metal, or ceramic. A crown seizes the tooth together while dental cement keeps the crown in place. A crown can loosen through time, and crack as a tooth would. The dental cement may also wash out. A loose crown can trigger tooth pain.