Posted on: 01 December, 2021
Teeth can ache for many different reasons, and the reason isn't always obvious. Sometimes pain is temporary and goes away on its own, but other times it can be a symptom of an underlying problem.
3 minute read
There are also different types of tooth pain. It may be mild or severe, continuous or intermittent, or start suddenly or get worse over time. You may also have other symptoms, such as swelling or bleeding.
Tooth pain is the most common symptom of dental problems, so it's important to see a dentist if a toothache lasts longer than a few days or is causing you severe discomfort.
Your dentist will aim to identify the cause of the pain so they can recommend suitable treatments. Here are some of the most common reasons for tooth pain and how a dentist can help.
Tooth decay is the most common reason for tooth pain. This is caused by plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria that clings to teeth. When these bacteria feed on sugar and carbohydrates, they release acids that can soften and dissolve tooth enamel.
As the protective enamel breaks down, the more sensitive layers of the tooth are exposed. This can eventually lead to cavities and can make the tooth feel painful and sensitive to temperature.
Teeth are the strongest part of the body, but they’re still at risk of damage from biting down on something hard or from sudden impacts or injuries during sports, falls or motor vehicle accidents.
A chipped or cracked tooth is often accompanied by throbbing pain. Even if you don't feel pain, a damaged tooth should still be treated by a dentist to prevent bacterial infections.
Severe tooth pain and sensitivity to temperature may be signs of an infected tooth. This can happen if a tooth is damaged and bacteria enter the soft tissue (the pulp) inside the tooth, which contains the nerves.
Tooth pain can sometimes be a symptom of gum problems. Gum disease is an infection of the gums by bacteria that can happen if plaque on teeth reaches the gum line.
In its early stage (gingivitis), your gums may feel sensitive or bleed when you brush your teeth. If this isn't treated, it can develop into an advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis. This can cause the gums to recede and expose the sensitive tooth roots, or even result in tooth loss.
A growing tooth is usually painful. If a tooth doesn't come through the gum (erupt) normally, it may be stuck inside the gum (impacted), which can extend the pain and risk infection.
This can happen with wisdom teeth if there isn't enough space in your jaw for an extra tooth. Sometimes, a baby tooth may remain in place and block a permanent tooth from erupting.
Depending on your situation, treatment for an impacted tooth may involve:
An infection of the tooth or gums that isn't treated may lead to an abscess forming under the tooth root. This is a pocket of bacteria and pus that can be very painful and may expose the mouth to further infections.
If a dental restoration such as a filling or crown breaks or comes loose, this may damage the surrounding tooth or expose it to air and bacteria, causing pain.
Grinding or clenching your teeth when you're sleeping or during the day is known as bruxism. This can put stress on your teeth and cause pain, wear or even damage if the condition isn't treated.
Bruxism treatment involves addressing the cause as well as the symptoms. Your dentist may recommend:
Tooth pain may not always be caused by dental issues. An infection of the sinus cavity can sometimes cause toothache in the upper jaw. This pain usually affects the molars at the back of the mouth.
Toothache can be a sign of many different problems, so you should see a dentist if you're concerned. To make an appointment with our dentists in South Perth, call EVP Dental today on (08) 9470 3944 or book an appointment online.