TOOTH PAIN/ TOOTHACHE: Symptoms and Causes
The root cause of toothache is inflammation in the dentin and pulp (inner core) of a tooth. Pulp is the soft central area that contains nerves and blood vessels. When this portion is damaged or diseased due to different causes, the person experiences extreme pain in the jaws and root of the tooth.
Depending on the cause, toothache can manifest in different ways.
- Prolonged and persistent pain stretching over hours
- Incessant, sharp and lacerating pain that radiates to the jaw, cheek, ear and head
- Pain with intervals of a few minutes
- Sharp pain when probed or touched
- Dull throbbing pain
It is very important to consider how toothache manifests because the kind of pain indicates the cause of toothache and eventually its management. For example, sharp and intermittent pain indicates enamel loss, sensitivity, gum recession or cavity. Chronic pain indicates problem in the pulp area. Throbbing pain indicates abscess or infection. Pain while chewing indicates cavities. Dull pain in the left jaw could also indicate an impending cardiac arrest.
Symptoms of toothache
Often, toothache is a symptom of more severe underlying problems and hence should never be ignored. Besides the direct pain experienced at the site of affected tooth while chewing and exposure to stimuli such as heat, cold or pressure, the below given are the common symptoms associated with toothache.
- Bleeding from the affected tooth
- Discharge of fluids other than blood from the affected tooth
- Swelling of the jaws and gums at the site of infection
- Continuous and throbbing headaches or earaches
Sinusitis, infection of the ear or throat, and injury to the TMJ joint (temporomandibular joint) that joins the skull and jaw cause a pseudo pain in the teeth. It is important to differentiate the causes of toothache from the causes of real dental problems and treat them accordingly.
Symptoms when medical consultation is mandatory
- Ache that does not recede after a couple of days of tooth extraction
- No relief is experienced after consuming over-the-counter painkillers
- Swelling in the entire face or part of the face containing the effected tooth
- Discharge from tooth (blood and other discharges)
- Fever following dental ache
- Pain caused due to severe trauma or injury to teeth
- Injury to the TMJ joint which leads to an pain when mouth is opened wide
- Toothache resulting from head or face injuries
- Facial rashes followed by toothache
- Vomiting, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness and other such discomforts following toothache
- Jaw pain followed by chest pain
- Excessive bleeding or pain in gums