What causes toothache and how to take care?

A toothache can make one miserable. A toothache is a dull or sharp pain experienced mostly in and around a tooth. Toothache can be due to many reasons. It is generally a symptom that something is amiss with our teeth or our gums. Toothache must not be ignored. Today we highlight some of the main causes behind toothaches and how to take care of your teeth to avoid toothaches. 

What causes toothache? 

Toothache can have a number of reasons. Some of the most commonly found reasons are as follows – 

  1. Tooth decay and cavities – Cavities are caused by poor oral hygiene, frequent snacking and also by the bacteria in the mouth. If cavities are not treated in time it can lead to tooth decay and this may result in a severe toothache. 
  1. Tooth infection and tooth abscess – Sometimes tooth may get infected by bacteria causing tooth infection. If the bacteria invade the pulp in the tooth, it can also lead to tooth abscess (to know more on this topic read our blog Tooth Abscess). In such a case one may experience a throbbing pain radiating up to the jaw. This may be accompanied with a swelling of a portion of the face and fever.  
  1. Tooth fracture – Tooth fracture can lead to toothache. Some of the common causes of tooth fracture include age, biting hard foods instead of sucking them like candies, ice etc. and bruxism i.e.- grinding of teeth. We have a separate blog on Bruxism if you are interested. People with dental cavities are more vulnerable to tooth fractures. Fractures are common in upper front teeth and lower back molars. 
  1. A damaged filling – Fillings are used by dentists to restore a decayed tooth. Post a filling people sometimes experience sensitivity and toothache. Some people may have a toothache because the they are allergic to the substance used for filling like silver. Constant pressure on fillings due to biting and chewing which were done long time ago can lead wearing away of the filling thereby exposing the tooth to further decay. This can also result in a toothache. 
  1. Excessive teeth grinding – Bruxism can lead to toothache. People who suffer from bruxism grind their teeth unknowingly in their sleep mostly, this can lead to tooth erosion and toothache. 
  1. Infected gums – Gum diseases can make your teeth sensitive to hot and cold and they may also ache. 
  1. Tooth extraction, fillings, root canal treatment – Many such dental procedures can make teeth sensitive and there may be toothache for a temporary period post these procedures.  
  1. Wisdom teeth – Eruption of wisdom teeth in some people is accompanied by toothache. 
  1. Braces and dentures – Some people experience toothache due to braces and dentures too.  

 Some other issues not related to the teeth can also cause toothache – 

  1. Cluster headaches and migraine  
  1. Blocked and infected sinuses 
  1. TMJ pain (jaw pain) 

In rare cases toothache has been associated with heart related problems and nerve diseases also.  

When to seek medical care for a toothache? 

  1. If fever and swelling accompanies toothache it is best to go to the dentist. 
  1. In case the pain is not relieved by over-the-counter painkillers. 
  1. If there is any discharge from the teeth. 
  1. In case of a severe injury if the tooth is knocked out then you must rush to an emergency. 
  1. If you are unable to open your mouth fully and or eat and chew foods that you normally eat. Difficulty in swallowing food is another sign that you need medical help. 
  1. Facial rash that comes along with a toothache needs a doctor’s intervention. 

A dentist will be able to diagnose the root cause of the toothache and provide a cure accordingly. This generally will involve medications like antibiotics to ease the pain and other lines of treatment depending on the real reason behind the toothache. 

How can I avoid a toothache? 

We can confidently say that a good oral hygiene routine will help you avoid toothache for most of the time. However, toothache can still occur due to other reasons listed above. Other than brushing and flossing your teeth regularly one should do the following to avoid toothaches- 

  1. Always maintain a healthy diet. Avoid eating starch and sugar rich foods.  
  1. Avoid chewing on hard objects like ice and candy.  
  1. Use a fluoride toothpaste to avoid getting tooth decay.   
  1. Keep your bridges, dentures and braces clean. 
  1. Wear a mouthguard or nightguard to protect teeth from grinding and if playing rough contact sports. (Read our blogs – Benefits of wearing mouth guards in contact and collision sports and Should I wear a night guard). 
  1. Last but not the least do visit your dentist at least once every six months. There are some problems that only a dentist can diagnose on a physical check up which may not have any or little visible symptoms like cavities and gum diseases in their initial stages. Early detection and diagnosis mean early cure and treatment. This can save your teeth. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog. We request you to share it with your family and friends if you liked it. For any dental queries, you can always call Ensure Dental Care on 940-274-3229. Schedule an appointment with us at the same number. Ensure Dental Care offers emergency dental services. Regardless of your problem we offer same day emergency treatments. We entertain walk ins also. 

We are the family dentist near you. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers. We also have an in-house payment plan. We have a very experienced and professional team of dental practitioners and we look forward to serving you to the best of our abilities. 

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