Do you feel a dull, throbbing pain in your jaw? Does one side of your mouth hurt when you bite down on something, or does a sharp pain occur when a cold drink splashes across a tooth? Toothaches come in a lot of different forms, but they all have one thing in common – they all happen because of an underlying issue that a dentist will need to address.
Even if the pain subsides, that doesn’t mean the underlying issue is gone. Toothaches come back, sometimes worse than before, and when they do, you’ll want our dentist at Ideal Dental to perform an oral examination to help determine the cause.
Common Causes of Tooth Pain
Rarely, is there one single cause of tooth pain. The pain is often a symptom of a more serious problem, such as:
- Tooth Decay – If the bacteria in plaque erodes the enamel surface of your tooth, this exposes the sensitive nerve endings within the underlying tooth structure and can continue to infiltrate into the center of the tooth reaching the pulp.
- Abscesses – Tooth decay and gum disease cause an abscess to form below or alongside the tooth root, which causes pain and spreads infection.
- Impaction – If a tooth doesn’t emerge fully from the gums, it often irritates the surrounding nerves, causing pain. This is most common with wisdom teeth and other molars.
- Gum Disease – If plaque remains beneath the gum, it can damage the bone that supports your teeth and the roots of your teeth as well. It can also loosen the teeth and cause them to ache.
- Trauma – If your tooth is chipped or cracked, this can also expose the pulp and put you at risk of infection.
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) – Grinding your teeth causes wear down over time, exposing the sensitive middle layers of teeth and straining the surrounding supporting structures.
- Misaligned Teeth – Crooked or misaligned teeth can cause uneven pressure in the mouth and may require orthodontic treatment.
Managing Tooth Pain
Going to a professional, such as those at Ideal Dental, is the best way to manage tooth pain. However, if you can’t make it to a dentist immediately, there are a few home remedies to try to ease the pain.
- Apply Ice, NOT Heat– Place a cold compress or ice pack against your cheek to help numb the pain. Don’t apply ice directly to your tooth – toothaches often cause heightened sensitivity to temperature.
- Gargle Sale Water – Saltwater helps to remove bacteria from the mouth and can reduce swelling. Add between a quarter and half a teaspoon of salt to warm water and gargle for at least five seconds. Do not swallow the water!
- Take Medication– Over-the-counter pain relief medication (such as aspirin) can ease the pain if it’s unbearable or you’re finding it difficult to sleep. Do not apply painkillers directly to the gums; the acid can burn gum tissue.
There’s no other way to say it – tooth pain is awful! Once you experience it, you never want to feel the agony ever again. The good news is that many causes of tooth pain are preventable, as long as you take care of your teeth and gums by practicing good oral hygiene and keeping up with your regular dental check-ups. If you’re experiencing tooth pain or want to prevent any future pain, request your appointment online.