Tooth decay is typically the main reason you have a toothache. However, that reason doesn’t cover all cases. This is why you should have a complete oral examination first in order to determine the cause of your aching tooth and learn what you need to do in order to address your dental problem. There are many reasons behind the toothache. Some of them are serious and some of them are not.
The Multitude of Toothache Causes
Here are the many different causes of toothache. Some of them are minor issues and can easily be remedied right at your home. Others are major problems that should be addressed in the dentist office or even within an emergency room.
- Tooth Decay: This is when acids from bacteria living in your mouth and eating all the leftover food and sugars there (particularly acids from their waste products) eat away at the enamel and dentin of your teeth, resulting in their deterioration and possible exposure of the tooth pulp of your root canal.
- Infection: Once your tooth pulp or soft tissue within the root canal is exposed, it’s now susceptible to infection due to germs and inflammation because of the infection. If this infection isn’t treated quickly, then the pulp might die and result in an abscessed tooth, resulting in a powerful ache right in the bone around your tooth that’s present every time you chew.
- Swelling Gums: Toothaches can also go hand-in-hand with gum disease. It could either be gingivitis (a type of periodontal disease wherein your gums showcase symptoms of swelling, redness, and irritation) or it could also be a symptom of an abscessed tooth (inflammation of the tooth root can also lead to inflammation of the surrounding gum of the affected tooth).
- Grinding Teeth: Bruxism occurs when you excessively clench your jaw or grind your teeth. This oral parafunctional activity is unrelated to your normal dental function of talking or eating. Teeth grinding syndrome is a lot more common than you think, and it includes symptoms such as tooth wear, damage to dental restoration, aching jaw muscles, and hypersensitive teeth.
- Tooth Trauma: A tooth that has gone through, say, blunt-force trauma from having your face punched or surviving a car crash can result in a cracked tooth and exposed tooth pulp and root. This in turn leads to complications related to toothache like a tooth root infection or even an abscessed tooth.
- An Abnormal Bite: You might want to avail of orthodontic help (like braces or retainers) in order to correct your bite in case your abnormal bite ends up grinding your teeth together awkwardly, which could in turn lead to potential tooth pain every time you eat or talk because your teeth and jaw aren’t lined up properly.
- Tooth Eruption: Toothaches for babies and school-age children aren’t necessarily the result of cavities. Instead, it could be the natural process of tooth eruption, which involves the emergence of milk teeth for babies and the falling out of milk teeth, then the eruption of permanent teeth throughout your childhood up until puberty. The teeth will naturally ache during this process known as teething.
The Bottom Line
If you have a toothache, you could have sensitive teeth, facial muscle discomfort that feels like a toothache, sinus or ear infections, or TMI/TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). It could even be a symptom of heart disease such as angina. It’s best to always consult your dentist in order to know if there’s a problem with your teeth or not.
Thantakit International Dental Center is Thailand’s longest established dental center. Situated in Bangkok, our clinic is renowned across the world as a destination for world-class dentistry, with most of our patients flying to us from Australia.
Please contact us today and get a FREE dental consultation.