Each year on February 9th, National Toothache Day is celebrated worldwide. This unofficial holiday recognizes the importance of maintaining good oral health to ward off conditions that can cause toothaches and other painful symptoms.
With National Toothache Day just around the corner, now is a great time to learn more about toothaches and what causes them.
What Exactly Is a Toothache?
Toothache refers to pain or discomfort felt in and around a tooth. In some cases, this pain can radiate to the jaw, neck, or ear. A toothache can appear in many ways. Sometimes the pain comes and goes. Eating or drinking can often make the pain worse, especially when the food or beverage is hot or cold. The pain can also range from mild to severe and may be a throbbing pain or feel “sharp.”
It can sometimes be difficult to determine where the pain is coming from. When a toothache affects a lower molar tooth, you may feel like you have an ear problem. Toothaches that develop in the upper teeth can feel like a sinus problem. While suffering from a toothache, it is common for the jaw area near the infected tooth to become sore and possibly tender to the touch.
So, what exactly causes a toothache? Several factors are often involved but here are some of the most common causes:
- Tooth Decay – Cavities can cause holes to develop in the teeth that cause a toothache.
- Cracked Tooth – Teeth can develop cracks that are so small that they are not visible to the naked eye.
- Broken or Loose Fillings – Over time, wear and tear can cause fillings to break or become loose.
- Receding Gums – The gums can shrink over time, exposing the soft, sensitive part of the tooth root.
- Periapical Abscess – This is a collection of pus that develops at the end of a tooth due to a bacterial infection.
When To Be Concerned?
Any time that you experience pain or discomfort in your mouth, it is important to have it checked by your dentist. Allowing a dental problem to go untreated can result in more than just a toothache. Tooth decay is the result of a bacterial infection that has affected your tooth. If a cavity is left untreated, there is a risk that the infection could enter your bloodstream and spread through the body.
Ignoring a toothache can also result in other problems. The decay could spread, affecting other teeth in the mouth. Eventually, the decayed tooth may die and begin to break, crumble, or fall out. If you do eventually decide to get the cavity removed, it may be too late as the decay may be too large for a standard filling. When this happens, your dentist may recommend a root canal and dental crown which are much more costly.
In a worst-case scenario, tooth decay that is not treated could result in the need for a tooth extraction. Pulling a tooth can be an uncomfortable experience both physically and emotionally. Depending on the location of the tooth, a tooth extraction could affect a person’s appearance and confidence. Fortunately, lost teeth can now be replaced with restorative options like bridges, removable dentures, or dental implants.
Gum disease is another concern that can stem from a toothache. In its early stages, gum disease can present some red flags that indicate a problem, such as pain, bleeding, and swelling of the gums. If gum disease is not promptly treated, it can progress to periodontal disease as a result of inflammation and infection. Periodontitis can affect the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth.
Schedule a Visit With Us
If you are dealing with a toothache or simply want to prevent future tooth pain with regular dental teeth cleaning visits, our friendly Melbourne, FL dentist can help. Contact Artistic Touch Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.