Toothache or tooth pain is one of the most common causes of oral pain. Virtually everyone in some way or form has experienced the vices of dental pain or toothache. There are very few things that may be as painful and agonizing as toothache. Depending on the cause, tooth pain can range from mildly annoying to excruciatingly painful. If severe, a toothache can have a deleterious impact on your day to day activities.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common but outrageous reasons for tooth pain!
You have a cavity
Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth pain. Statistically, untreated tooth decay (dental caries) affects almost half of the world’s population (44%), making it the most prevalent dental condition included in the Global Burden of Disease Study. 60 to 90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have tooth decay that often leads to tooth pain and discomfort. For the tooth and the surrounding tissues to elicit sensations of pain, the tooth decay would have to be significant enough to evade the outer layer of the tooth (enamel) and the underlying dentin. Pain may present as sharp and shooting, common with hypersensitivity cases due to the thin covering of dentin being exposed.
If the pain presents as more of a sharp or dull continuous pain, tooth decay may have reached the center of the tooth to infiltrate the pulp, a living tissue that homes the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues of the tooth. In such a case, tooth fillings or restorations play a rather minor role because the tooth may not be savable. Root canal therapy may be the next line of action.
You cracked a tooth
An intense tooth pain especially when you bite down on food or clench your jaw may be a warning sign of possible tooth fracture. Accidents, heavy impacts, or contact sports maybe some of the commonly heard causes for knocked-out teeth. However, your teeth do not have to visibly be broken or fallen out to indicate the presence of a crack. Some tooth fractures such as craze lines may be so minute that they cannot be detected by the naked eye. These microscopic fracture lines are so tricky to diagnose that by the time they exhibit signs of pain, they may already be destined for a root canal or even extraction.
Such fractures do not need a violent precursor but often may occur due to simple unprecedented activities like biting down on hard food such as unpopped popcorn kernels. Cracks open up a portal of entry for oral bacteria into the teeth and may even lead to infection and widespread sepsis.
Your tooth filling fell out
Although fillings and crowns are meant to last a long time, they can occasionally crack, become loose, or even fall out unexpectedly. Dental fillings are usually put into place to protect and cover deep pits, grooves, or fractures in teeth that may have made these parts of the tooth vulnerable and weakened. When fillings are dislodged out of these crevices, the underlying original tooth that has been compromised is exposed to the oral environment. Tooth pain in the form of sensitivity is likely to occur with the exposure of these sensitive parts of the teeth.
With the damage to the protective restorations, the tooth suffers massive sensitivity and ache to extreme temperatures, food particles, and bacteria. This can lead to pain that is anything from a dull ache to a sharp, piercing sensation. If you notice a dislodged filling that may be spat out or suspected to have been swallowed, an appointment at the emergency dentist is much needed to fix the vulnerable parts of your tooth from suffering further damage.
You grind your teeth at night
Teeth grinding, or bruxism is the rhythmic grinding, clenching, or gnashing the teeth together which may occur consciously or with no conscious intent. Awake bruxism usually occurs in the day time when a person is heavily focused on a particular task or is under huge amounts of stress. Students rushing to meet their deadline may show such signs of teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Sleep bruxism, on the other hand, may manifest as a result of unresolved or unaddressed stress during the day time that may subconsciously seep into an individual’s nightly sleep regimen.
Teeth grinding is horrible for a number of reasons, the most crucial of which being that it is conducive to an oral environment of rapid tooth wear and tear. When the underlying tooth dentin is exposed, it may result in tooth pain as the dentin is sensitive to unworldly stimuli. Teeth grinding can also result in sore bones and joints, massive unrelenting headaches, and even cracked or chipped teeth, that further instigate tooth pain. A custom mouthguard may be prescribed to the patient to relieve the stress put on teeth and the jaw by way of nocturnal teeth grinding.
Your wisdom teeth are coming in
Wisdom teeth may be deemed more problematic than wisdom-inducing for many individuals. If your wisdom teeth have erupted with no notable signs of a struggle and other associated problems, consider yourself lucky. A vast majority of people face a heap of dental issues when their wisdom teeth begin to come in. Due to the lack of adequate space, most wisdom teeth appear to be “impacted” or show resistance to eruption. Impacted wisdom teeth that have failed to break through the gum line, can be extremely painful as they fester below the gum line.
The frequency of impacted lower third molars was found to be 72%, according to data from a Swedish study. It has also been reported that Americans spend an estimated $3 billion a year having their wisdom teeth removed. This figure is alarming but also shows the total number of people suffering from tooth pain who may be compelled to removing their impacted wisdom teeth.
You have an abscess
When tooth decay advances to the point that the bacteria corrode the tooth enamel and dentin and makes its way to the root, it is likely to result in an abscess. A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that is caused by a bacterial infection and can occur at different locations around the tooth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), this infection produces swelling, redness, throbbing pain, and a bad taste in your mouth.
Tooth abscess results in widespread pulsating pain that may make the determination of the offending tooth difficult. This is a very serious dental issue and needs to be professionally dealt with as soon as possible. Abscess drainage, a long duration of antibiotic prescription, and an extensive root canal may be required to remove the infected tissue and relieve the accompanying pain.
You have worn down enamel
Tooth sensitivity is a relatively huge problem that affects a good fraction of the world population. The feeling of flared-up, sharp, and shooting pain may be experienced by many when taking a sip of their sizzling hot coffee or when biting into an ice pop. Ever wondered why this happens? Tooth hypersensitivity is usually a sign of damaged or deteriorated enamel, the outer protective layer of the tooth.
Harsh chemicals, extremely acidic foods, or a notorious habit of tooth grinding can all contribute to the rapid wearing down of the tooth enamel. Tooth wear, as described by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), is the erosion of the hard mineral that protects your teeth’s surface. When tooth wear is driven to the point of dentin and pulp exposure, you may experience excruciating tooth pain. Tooth wear can also result in cavities, further aggravating the deliverance of pain.
Research even proves that in the U.S. alone, about 15 million working days are lost each year to toothache. While some forms of a toothache may be easy to overcome by simply improving your oral health care routine, others may need some in-depth treatments like oral surgery. Connect with 4Smile to find the best dentists to treat you for tooth pain!