One of the most common tooth issues, the toothache, has a wide variety of causes and treatments. Gum, jaw, and tooth pain are sometimes confused with each other, and without the help of a professional dentist they can be very tough to diagnose. However, in a lot of cases where teeth are hurting or sensitive to temperature changes it can be a sign of one of these problems:
- Tooth decay: Cavities–caused by acids, sugars, and bacteria penetrating the enamel–will eventually reach low enough in the tooth to cause either direct sensitivity of the nerve, or microcavities in the teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, and different types of pressure.
- New teeth coming in: When adult teeth or wisdom teeth are erupting through the gums, the inflammation associated with it can make teeth sore.
- Tooth fracture: Accidentally biting the wrong thing can cause an internal or external crack or fracture in a tooth. In some cases a broken tooth may be extremely painful, other times it may not cause any pain at all. Depending on how the tooth is damaged, it will be more or less sensitive.
- Damaged fillings: Fillings may fall out or be knocked loose, resulting in a previously cleaned and filled cavity being opened. Because this part of the tooth may be hard to clean, it generally will degrade faster than the rest of teeth due to buildup of food or acids.
- Gum infections: If there is inflammation, swelling, or other signs of infection, pain in the gums can sometimes be felt as pain in the tooth. It is important to treat infections soon because they can quickly damage the mouth or spread beyond it.
Using a fluoride-based toothpaste to brush, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash are generally good ways to avoid degradation of the teeth and complications leading to tooth damage. Healthy gums are also crucial to maintaining proper overall oral health, and preventing toothaches. There are many other causes of a toothache, and many will vary with regard to sensitivity to temperature, sensitivity to sweets, and pain when applying pressure.
If you have a toothache that lasts longer than a few days, or is painful, call the office of Dr. Cohen at 626-967-6453
Dr. Jeffrey L. Cohen, DDS
204 West College Street
Covina, CA 91723