Sometimes you may have tooth pain when you touch a tooth or when you eat or drink foods that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour (a sensitive tooth). Mild sensitivity can be caused by shrunken (receded) gums or a worn-down tooth. Moderate to severe sensitivity can mean a tooth has cracked, a dental cavity is present, or a filling has been lost. Toothache occurs as a result of swelling in the central part of the tooth also known as the pulp. It consists of several nerve endings which are highly sensitive towards pain.
Causes of Toothache
The most common cause of a toothache is tooth decay, although a toothache may not be present in the early stages of decay. Other reasons for a toothache might include:
- An infection of or around the tooth (abscess). A red, swollen, painful bump may be found near or on the side of the sore tooth. The tooth may especially hurt when you bite down.
- A tooth that has not broken through the gum (impacted tooth). Gums may be red, swollen, and sore. The area around this tooth can ache, throb, and be quite painful.
- Problems with or injury to the nerves in the centre of the tooth (pulp), which can be caused by an injury to the face or from grinding or gnashing the teeth.
Signs and symptoms of toothache include:
- Swelling around the affected tooth.
- Swelling of the jaw.
- Bleeding from the tooth, or if the gum has been infected, then discharge can occur from the entire area.
- Soreness can be felt in the gum and jaw area and is tender to touch.
- The pain often intensifies with additional pressure on the tooth. It can happen while chewing food or while lying down.
- Sometimes, the tooth appears normal and it becomes difficult to identify the source of pain. In such cases, if you tap the tooth you can feel the tenderness.
Treatment usually depends on the underlying cause of the problem. First, dentists prescribe pain killers and antibiotics to bring down the pain and swelling. In certain cases, they may administer injections around the tooth to provide relief from the pain. This is followed by other dental treatments. For tooth decay, dentists remove the decayed part of the tooth and fill it up using silver amalgam or composite resin. If loose and broken fillings are found to be the cause, then newly formed decay and broken fillings are cleared and a new filling is placed. When damage in the pulp is found then root canal treatment is carried out which involves removal of the decayed pulp, filling up the space with a paste and covering the tooth with a crown. Thus the tooth is sealed up and is in a well protected condition. If the condition of the tooth is such that it cannot be treated with all these methods then it will have to be extracted. When the toothache is related to anything other than dental health then your dentist will refer you to other specialists.
You can avoid toothache symptoms to a great extent by following a proper dental care regime. Proper brushing of teeth using a soft brush is a must in order to remove food particles that get stuck in between the teeth. Brush your gums daily to make them healthy. Get your teeth cleaned by your dentist twice a year. This will ensure you protection from both decay as well as any kind of gum disease.