It’s happened to all of us: no matter how dutifully you care for the health of your pearly whites, at some point or another, you’ve likely had a toothache. It may have been a sharp or jabbing pain, or the pain might have been mild, continuous and dull. It doesn’t matter: toothaches are annoying and are an indication that something is amiss in your mouth. That something could be easily fixable, or it could be a sign of a serious problem. Either way, it’s important to identify what’s causing your toothache so that you can get the issue addressed promptly. The type of pain you experience with a toothache can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your mouth. Let’s explore the four main types of pain and see what might be the underlying cause, (or causes), of each.
A Dull, Persistent Ache
These toothaches are typical, and while they can be incredibly annoying, they’re not the most painful type of toothache. The pain is mild but persistent – likely not so bad that you’re distracted in your day-to-day, but frustrating enough that you know that something’s up. A few things could be causing this type of toothache. You could have food lodged between your teeth near your gumline. Is your gum swollen? That could be a sure sign. Floss thoroughly and wait to see if the pain subsides.
If the pain is a little stronger and extends all the way to your jaw, it might also be an indication that you grind your teeth at night. A lot of people do it, but it’s still important to put an end to the pain. Talk to your dentist about getting a night guard to protect your teeth if grinding is a problem. Finally, and unfortunately, there is a possible third culprit for dull, persistent tooth pain, and this one is much more concerning. You could have an abscessed tooth: this means that an infection has reached the root of your tooth, and it will need to be addressed immediately if you’re going to get any relief.
Are you experiencing toothache when you eat or drink something that’s particularly hot, or particularly cold? Depending upon the duration of the pain or the intensity of the pain, a number of different things could be occurring. If the pain is short-lived, you might have worn-down enamel or gum recession. This is easily addressed: try switching to a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and avoid particularly hot or cold dishes when you first start the new paste. If the situation does not improve, or if your temperature sensitivity is more severe, then something else might be at play. Tooth decay, worn fillings, fractures, gum disease, or even an exposed tooth root could be causing this unusual sensitivity: you’ll need to talk to a dentist about addressing any of these issues as quickly as possible.
Sharp, Jabbing Tooth Pain
Perhaps the tooth pain you’re experiencing is more severe: it’s sharp or jabbing, but only occurs in brief moments or when you poke the tooth, take a bit of food, or yawn. It’s likely the case that you’ve got physical damage to the tooth in question. There might be decay or wear on the tooth around the gumline, the cusp of your tooth may have become fractured, or you might even have cracked your enamel. These are all serious issues that need to be addressed by a dentist, promptly. But if your sharp tooth pain is occurring to a tooth that has a crown or filling, something else might be causing the problem. It could be that your crown or filling has either come loose or come off entirely. This can be fixed by your dentist and is not an indication that anything is particularly wrong with your tooth’s health at all. Still, get it addressed to avoid any continued pain.
Severe or Throbbing Tooth Pain
It’s possible that your toothache pain is more severe than any of the conditions described above: that means something serious is going on. If you’re in so much pain that it’s distracting you from your everyday activities, you need to seek professional help immediately. Check to see if your gums are swelling or bleeding: if they are, you’ve likely got a very bad infection that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Infections in the mouth can reach the pulp of your teeth: this is the living tissue inside your tooth that’s made of very sensitive nerve-endings. If the infection has reached the pulp of your teeth, A) you’ll be in very serious pain, but B) you run the risk of allowing the infection to spread even further to your bones, which is quite dangerous. If your pain is this severe, seek help immediately.
The talented and knowledgeable folks at Absolute Smile are here to help answer your questions about toothache and uncover the root causes of your pain. If you’re struggling with toothache, come in today. We’ll be happy to diagnose the issue, and get you a quick and effective solution so that you can get back to feeling great!