Top 7 Causes of Toothache and What to Do About Them

What is the cause of your toothache

Help! My tooth hurts.

Having a toothache is already a serious issue that no one should have to deal with. In fact, prolonged tooth pain can be a sign of a major issue that needs to be taken care of by a dentist. Today, we outline 7 of the top causes of toothache and what dentists recommend be done about them. 

Toothache Cause #1: Cavities 

Most of us have had a cavity in our life and we know how painful they can be. Even with proper brushing and flossing, it is still possible to develop cavities in spaces that are hard to see and reach. 

You should visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings, but if you experience tooth pain, you should visit the dentist as soon as possible. In the event your pain is caused by a cavity, your dentist will recommend having the cavity cleaned and filled to relieve the pain and protect the tooth from further damage. 

Toothache Cause #2: Filling Falling Out 

If you’ve had a cavity before and had it filled by your dentist, then there is a possibility that, over time, your filling may fall out due to wear and tear. If this happens, it can cause severe pain because the damaged part of the tooth is now exposed again. 

If this happens, the dentist will need to clean the site of the previous filling before putting in a new one. A new filling will typically alleviate the pain unless the damage has become more extensive. Your dentist will assess this and discuss with you whether more treatment is needed. 

Toothache Cause #3: Abscess 

One cause of a toothache that is not easy to go unnoticed is an abscess in a tooth. An abscess is a pocket of pus that can develop in a tooth due to bacterial infection. Most often this happens due to a cavity that is left untreated. An abscess is considered a serious issue and can become very painful—it’s important that you see your dentist right away. 

If your dentist determines that an abscess is the cause of your toothache, there are multiple ways that this may be treated depending on the severity of the infection. In some cases the abscess can be drained and treated with antibiotics. In more severe cases, a root canal may also be necessary, and in the worst case, the tooth may need to be extracted to prevent damage to other teeth.

Toothache Cause #4: Tooth Fracture

Another obvious, but difficult to deal with, cause of a toothache is a tooth fracture or a crack in your tooth. The actual fracture will sometimes be difficult to find, but the pain will be a definite giveaway that something is wrong. 

A tooth fracture can be caused by injury to the mouth, but also from conditions like clenching teeth and teeth grinding. The treatment for the fracture will change depending on how severe the damage is and how compromised the integrity of your tooth is. 

The most common solution for a tooth fracture involves cleaning the area, administering a root canal, and placing a crown over the damaged part of the tooth to restore its shape. Another solution is a process called dental bonding, whereby a broken tooth is restored thanks to a special dental bonding agent that fixes the crack and bonds the damaged tooth together. 

If the crack or fracture was caused as a result of tooth grinding, the dentist will prescribe a mouth guard that is made specifically to prevent further damage to teeth by keeping them separated. 

Toothache Cause #5: Wisdom Teeth 

Many people suffer from tooth pain that is a result of crowding in their mouth from wisdom teeth. Not only can wisdom teeth cause space issues in the mouth, wisdom teeth can become impacted, which can cause further issues. 

Tooth pain caused by wisdom teeth is most often treated by removing the wisdom teeth. A wisdom tooth extraction is a complex extraction that requires the teeth to be surgically removed while the patient is sedated. If the teeth are impacted, the extraction can be even more complex. 

Toothache Cause #6: TMJD

Other conditions that don’t directly affect the teeth can also cause a toothache. One common problem that people suffer from that can cause a toothache is temporomandibular joint disorder, otherwise known as TMJD. 

There are many reasons why you may be experiencing TNJD, including teeth clenching and grinding, stress, an improper bite, or direct trauma to the joint. Symptoms may include pain in the affected area, headaches, a clicking noise in your jaw, or even difficulty opening your mouth. 

Standard treatments for TMJ may include dental applications designed to realign the position of the jaw to relieve the tension and pressure, or surgery to correct the issue if it has become severe.

Toothache Cause #7: Infection 

A more serious cause of toothache that should be treated immediately is infection. An infection in the gums or the roots of a tooth can not only cause severe pain, if left untreated, it can lead to health complications that affect the entire body. 

If possible, the dentist will try to treat the infection with antibiotics, however, if the infection has spread or is severe, it can cause health problems throughout the entire body. Your dentist may perform a root canal or extraction to contain the infection and preserve the rest of the teeth. 

Dixon Boles and Associates is your partner in dental health. 

No matter the cause of the toothache, it is always a good idea to see your dentist immediately to have the situation taken care of to protect your smile and prevent further health problems. If you’ve been feeling pain in your teeth or jaw, the team at Dixon, Boles and Associates are here to help relieve your pain and restore your oral health. Book an appointment today—we look forward to seeing you.

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