What Causes Toothaches?

 In General Dentistry, Oral Hygiene

We’ve all either experienced a toothache ourselves or know someone who has. It isn’t a fun ordeal, and it seems to last forever. The dull annoying pain, slowly builds to a paralyzing, pulsating, lightning shock that just never seems to get any better. So, we go to the dentist or to the emergency room so a trained professional can diagnose and treat the pain – hopefully eliminating it for good.

When you’re doubled over in pain, the last thing you may be concerned with is “why are my teeth aching?” Still, it can be important to know why a tooth ache occurs.

Long ago, before modern medicine, the toothache was thought to have been caused by a “tooth worm” burrowing inside of a tooth. Now we know better and can address many different causes of a nasty toothache.

1) Cavities
A cavity is the rotten area of a tooth, dissolved by bacteria or acid. As the outer enamel is worn away, the inner layer of sensitive dentin is exposed. When this layer comes into contact with outside stimuli (cold, heat, sweetness, etc.) pain is usually not far behind.

2) Gum Disease
Similar to cavities, gum disease occurs when a build-up of bacteria accumulates around the gum-line. Early signs of this disease are bleeding gums even without any pain. Eventually, if left untreated, this problem will escalate to a very painful condition resulting in swelling and even bone loss.

3) Chipped Tooth
As mentioned previously, when the outer layer of tooth enamel is worn down, exposing the inner layer of dentin, pain is usually quick to follow. In this case, bacteria aren’t the culprit, but instead an errant elbow or fly ball that chipped or cracked the unfortunate victim’s tooth.

4) Tooth Movement or Eruption
This is one of the more common causes for a toothache. As a tooth prepares to burst through the gums, or erupt, it will move and jostle with other teeth. This action can cause serious discomfort, even if the tooth is erupting properly. If, however, a tooth is coming in crooked or crowding any other teeth, the pain can be much more severe.

If you are concerned about a tooth ache of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact your dentist right away.

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