Do you have a toothache? Do you know the causes of toothaches? Given their role in everything from processing your food to enunciating your words, your teeth go through a lot every day. Though they’re the covered in the most resilient substance your body produces (enamel), your teeth are not indestructible. If you haven’t already, then you may have to deal with a toothache at some point in your life. As a symptom of a wide variety of dental health issues, a toothache can indicate many different things. Therefore, your dentist will have to find out what’s really behind your tooth pain before recommending an appropriate treatment to alleviate it.
A toothache is common enough that most people will experience one at least once in their lifetime. Toothaches also have a wide variety of potential causes, and your toothache may be vastly different from everyone else’s. To find permanent relief for your aching tooth, your dentist will first have to find out why you have a toothache, then consult with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan to address it. In some cases, you may be able to find toothache relief without needing restorative treatment.
Common Causes Behind Toothaches
Inadequate dental hygiene
The enamel that surrounds your teeth is their main line of defense against things like food particles and harmful oral plaque. The highly mineralized layer also guards your teeth against sensation, and for many patients, tooth sensitivity is a warning sign that their enamel has grown weak or compromised.
Unseen tooth damage
You might not always realize when your tooth wears down or cracks, but your tooth will feel it nonetheless. For instance, if you grind your teeth constantly or have a habit of chewing ice, then a tooth might become cracked over time. When it does, the damage can cause a growing toothache, especially when you bite and chew, and may also cause discomfort by scraping against soft, sensitive oral tissues.
Even a healthy tooth can hurt if its structure is worn down or damaged. A crack or fracture can expose the nerves and blood vessels housed within the tooth’s pulp, or center chamber. In some cases, you might not realize that a crack has developed or that your tooth has worn down until you visit your dentist to diagnose the resulting pain.
Periodontal disease can sometimes feel like a toothache
Early gum issues, or gingivitis, describes an infection in your gum tissues that causes them to recede from your teeth. As they do so, your teeth roots can become exposed, making your teeth sensitive around their roots and gum line. As gum disease progresses, sensitivity can grow worse as the gum tissues suffer more damage.
Did You Know Toothaches and Sensitivity Are Common Warnings of Trouble?
Toothaches and especially lasting sensitivity are warning signs of dental problems, like cavities. Fortunately, if you seek treatment quickly, your dentist can likely help to prevent a toothache, and to protect your smile. That said, the longer you wait to see the dentist, the more likely it is that extensive measures will become necessary.
About 25% of cavities can cause a toothache
Oral bacteria are an everyday fact of life, as are the threats that they can pose if bacteria are allowed to accumulate in force. For instance, certain types of oral bacteria release acids that weaken your enamel, allowing bacteria to infect the main body of your tooth. Known as a cavity, the hole that tooth decay leaves behind can cause increasing tooth sensitivity, eventually graduating to an intense toothache if left untreated.
Your teeth roots are exposed.
Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, also forms from excessive bacteria. However, rather than attacking your tooth directly, the disease causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, exposing their roots to food particles and oral bacteria. Your teeth roots are not covered by enamel, and because your root canals contain the tooth’s nerves, exposure can make your teeth increasingly more sensitive.
Learn more about common toothache causes
If your tooth hurts, then the first step to alleviating it should be to visit your dentist and find out what’s behind it. To learn more, call us in Lake Forest, IL, today at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Chicago and all surrounding communities.