The Top 9 Reasons for Toothaches
We use our teeth a lot, and we use them everyday. They work harder than virtually every surface in our body. So, when a toothache comes on, it’s sure to cause some misery.
There’s no single or specific answer for what causes a toothache. Everyone’s teeth are different, and we all have varying degrees of sensitivity within our mouths. If you or a loved one are experiencing ongoing oral pain, check out this list of the top 9 reasons for toothaches to understand what’s going wrong, and what you can do to make it stop.
A cavity begins when bacteria begins to harm the surface of your teeth. This destruction spreads inside your tooth if left untreated. A cavity is essentially a form of tooth decay where the tooth begins to decay from the inside.
Plaque begins to form as substances like sugar buildup without proper cleaning. Bacteria begins to feed off this sugary buildup, which produces acid. This acid combines with more bacteria, food particles and saliva, which then turns into plaque.
A cavity will start to cause pain when the decay reaches the inner layer of the tooth, called the dentin.
If the pain you’re experiencing is more an acute, sharp pain than a dull soreness, the decay may have reached the center of your tooth. This needs to be addressed immediately by your dentist, as it could cause serious problems later on.
If decay becomes especially bad, you may suffer from an abscess. Abscess may also be caused by trauma, such as a broken tooth, or by gingivitis or gum disease. An abscess will cause more than a dull pain – it will feel much more targeted and intense. Some common symptoms of abscess are:
- Pain when chewing
- Bitter taste
- Sensitivity to hot and cold in the teeth
- Swollen neck glands
- Redness and gum swelling
- Open sores on the gum
Abscess needs to be treated immediately by your dentist to save as much of the tooth as possible.
When you get a sinus infection, the lining along your nasal passage becomes inflamed. The infection begins in your maxillary sinuses, which are located just above molar teeth roots. These can swell with the buildup of bacterial or viral mucus. The buildup can put pressure on your dental nerve endings, which will cause your teeth to ache.
There are a few steps you can take to alleviate your sinus infection. First off, be sure to drink a lot of water; this breaks down mucus buildup. You can also try taking a hot shower to open your sinuses with steam. If symptoms become so severe that you can’t perform regular functions, visit your doctor to seek prescription treatment.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is common cause of tooth, neck, and jaw pain. Most people who grind their teeth do so while they sleep or when stressed. Teeth grinding occurs when the jaw is tensed and the bottom and top teeth grind against each other.
If untreated, bruxism can cause chronic jaw, tooth, and neck pain, and can even cause teeth to chip and break. The most common treatment of bruxism is a mouth guard patients can wear at night to prevent teeth from hitting each other.
Impacted wisdom teeth
Most of us simply don’t have room in our jaws naturally for those pesky wisdom teeth to push through. When they attempt to do so, other teeth become crowded, forcing against one another. A partially erupted wisdom tooth will attempt to force its way through the gum. As these wisdom teeth fester beneath the surface of your gums, the pain may worsen. Your dentist should routinely conduct X-rays to keep track of your wisdom teeth growth to ensure they are removed before causing any pain.
Poor brushing and flossing
When most of us are brushing our teeth, we don’t think about how much pressure we’re applying. The result may be that we brush too hard, causing gums to become inflamed. If this continues, gums can gradually recede and make your teeth unstable. If this is a continual problem for you, consider using a lighter touch when brushing or switching to a toothbrush with softer bristles.
We all know that feeling of accidentally sinking our teeth into an ice cream cone and feeling that sharp pain around our teeth. Soreness immediately after eating or drinking something hot or cold is commonly associated with teeth sensitivity.
The primary culprit of tooth sensitivity is the wearing down of enamel, exposing the dentin (where the nerve endings are). This enamel can be worn down as a result of a recent teeth whitening procedure. Consider trying a toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth.
Diseased gums will cause dull oral pain, bleeding gums, or tooth pain. If gum disease isn’t treated early, or treated improperly, teeth, gums, and bones could be damaged. While not necessarily common, gum disease is serious and ought to be treated as quickly as possible.
If you lead an active lifestyle, you’re more likely to suffer a tooth fracture. Many athletes wear mouth guards to avoid this very problem. A crack in a tooth can travel all the way down to the sensitive nerve endings in the center of the tooth. This can cause some serious pain. If a mild crack occurs, it can actually deepen and worsen over time and eventually reach the dentin. That’s why it’s important to go see your dentist immediately after a fracture to get a filling or get the tooth extracted.
If you’re experiencing any sort of discomfort involving your teeth, it’s important to find answers right away. Searching on the Internet can offer some solutions, but your dentist will almost always have the definitive answer. Even if only mild soreness develops in one or several of your teeth, you should always seek professional help prior to trying to solve the problem yourself. The earlier you get into the office, the more likely it is that you can avoid an extraction and find another treatment.
At Paradigm, we offer a vast wealth of knowledge in our staff, as well as a wide variety of services, so you can be sure you’re getting the best treatment in Beaverton. No one should have to suffer from a toothache if they have other options.
If you’re experiencing dental pain, schedule an appointment with us right away. To hear from our own staff, check out our video series Ask Dr. Rust where we hear from the doctor himself about what causes toothaches.