Tooth pain or toothache brings new meanings to the word “discomforting”. Ever felt that sudden splurge of unbearable pain making your whole body tingle in some weird way? Further that up with swelling, fever, earache to name a few. Well, that is the start of the tooth pain journey. A very painful journey which makes one retrospect all the sweet cravings and whether it was worth biting into that god-awesome gulab jamun the night before. Well, it is not that simple though, rather a prolonged process leading to this nightmare. Tooth pain is the result of not one but many reasons, some of which are not preventable. But it is a fact that proper oral hygiene can, and will prevent toothache for the most part. A bi-annual visit to the dentist is pertinent to acknowledge good oral hygiene & to spot any deficiencies of the same. It is important to take note that teeth are sensitive and need proper attention. In order to categorically prevent or treat tooth pain, a good understanding of the causes or reasons for tooth pain is essential.
Here is a list of a few important causes for tooth pain:
More commonly known as tooth decay or cavities, it is caused by certain types of bacteria containing acids which erode the enamel, which is the outer layer of the tooth. It then penetrates into the dentin, which is the softer layer & causes sensitivity here before finally entering the pulp (nerve tissue) containing the nerve endings which is the most sensitive part of the tooth. At first, it is not visible and there is no pain but slowly as it enters the more sensitive layers, the cavities enlarge and pain follows.
Symptoms: Sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet eatables. Sweet eatables provide a playfield for bacterial growth which in time leads to acid attacks on the tooth caused by byproducts of the microbes. Warning signs must not be ignored and a visit to the dentist at the earliest is recommended for damage limitation.
Caution: If cavities have entered the softer, more sensitive layers, removing them will cause immense discomfort.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism):
This is more of a self-caused problem. It is the grinding of the teeth which leads to gradual erosion of the layers due to physical damage. Severe erosion of the layers can lead to a lot of complications and can be very heavy on the pockets to treat. Jaw problems occur due to bite collapse as the jaws rotate & close more than they should. Basically the tooth structure & jaw orientation is disturbed and results in pain in the jaw joints, tooth fractures and problems in chewing.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection. Usually food particles are trapped in the adjacent space between the gums and teeth. This causes infection and leads to pain in the gums. If left unchecked, it leads to gingival recession or separation of the teeth from the gums. This infection then spreads to the underlying jaw bone & affects the support system of the tooth. Teeth become loose and may require extraction.
A Periodontist needs to be consulted if faced with these symptoms.
- Bleeding of the gums while brushing or spontaneously
- Sensitive teeth
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Foul breath even after brushing
Wisdom teeth often are the cause for a lot of tooth pain. Normally occurring between 18 to 21 years of age, wisdom teeth are the third molars which try to force themselves into the dental structure which leads to impacted pain. Third molars are vestigial structures that have been left behind in the process of evolution (same as the appendix, external ear etc). In patients who derive their jaw size from the mother & teeth size from the father, a mismatch of space occurs due to which there is minimal or no space left for the eruption of 3rd molars. This leads to pressure exerted on the jaws translated to the gums in an attempt to erupt into the mouth. The gums are damaged in the process and are also prone to infection and sores on the inner cheek. Consulting a dentist is the safest option when it comes to wisdom teeth as it would, in most cases, need to be extracted.
- Swelling around the jaw
- Tender, bleeding gums
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
These are but a few of the reasons for tooth pain. Apart from visiting the dentist when the tooth pain finally arrives, taking proper care and precautions to avoid such painful, unsavoury situations lie in everyday routines. Dental health must be taken seriously as toothaches are a result of prolonged decay of teeth.
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Read more about home remedies for toothache for pain relief