A toothache or tooth pain is described as any pain or ache in or around a tooth. The tooth may be painful when chewing or biting, sensitive to hot and cold temperatures or it may even radiate a dull ache. The causes of tooth pain fall into 2 categories; dental causes and non-dental causes.
Dental Causes of Toothache
Tooth Decay: Tooth decay is probably one of the most common causes of toothache. This occurs when the enamel of the tooth is damaged and underlying dentin is infected. Tooth decay also leads to infection of the nerve and pulp inside the tooth. This is known as abscess, a condition which is a more severe form of tooth pain.
Tooth Damage: Damage to the tooth is another common cause of tooth pain. This happens when teeth are chipped or broken due to trauma. Other reasons that contributes to tooth pain include damaged crown, filling, or an implant. Pain may also occur after a tooth extraction.
Gum Disease: Gum disease or periodontal disease can contribute to tooth pain, as well as gum pain. The symptoms include bleeding, redness and swelling of the gums. Pain occurs when gingivitis is left untreated and gums pulls away from the teeth, forming pockets that allows food debris and bacteria to collect.
Non-Dental Causes of Toothache
Some causes of tooth pain may not be directly related to your teeth. It could be associated with any of the following conditions:
Sinus Pain Infection: This usually occurs when the pressure of fluid-filled sinuses creates pain in your upper jaws and teeth. Inflammation and swelling of sinuses may cause an ache accompanied with a dull pressure. If your pain is chronic ask your doctor for advice about medications to relieve sinus pressure.
Other non-dental causes of toothache include heart attack, cluster headache, nerve diseases, drug abuse and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Diagnosing a Toothache
Only a dentist may be able to diagnose the cause of your tooth pain based on a dental examination. Your dentist may also want to take an X-ray to identify the exact nature and location of your tooth pain. The x-ray allows the dentist to check for abscesses, cavities, or any other hidden problems.
Once your dentist has diagnosed the cause of your toothache, she will explain the treatment process. In the meantime, she will prescribe medication to help alleviate the pain. This is only temporary, do not stop treatment if the pain subsides. If left untreated, the problem can become more serious and complex requiring expensive treatment.