One of the most common dental complaints is toothaches. Tooth pain is one of the top reasons why people visit their dentist. But do you know what causes toothaches? Nine out of ten people will usually say it is cavities or tooth decay. However, there are many other causes of toothaches that are not associated with tooth decay.
Some of the most common causes include decay, tooth sensitivity caused by a thinning of the tooth enamel or receding gums, cracked or broken teeth, or even sinus issues can cause the teeth to ache. If you experience toothaches it is important to make an appointment with your dentist to have the problem evaluated to determine the problem.
- A condition called cracked tooth syndrome can occur because of teeth grinding or bruxism, an injury to the tooth, poor chewing habits, or weakening of a tooth with a large filling. These types of cracks may be too small to be seen, even in an x-ray. Pain results when pressure is put on the tooth while chewing.
- A tooth that is injured in a fall or accident may not show signs of damage until they become painful. A tooth fracture will eventually reach the nerve causing the tooth to ache. In addition bacteria and plaque can build up in the crack and cause the tooth to decay. If you fall or hit your teeth in an accident it is important to have a dentist examine the teeth for damage or injury.
- Advanced gum disease or periodontitis can cause tooth pain because the inflammation can cause gum tissue to swell and loss of bone around the teeth. Gum abscesses or pockets of puss can also cause tooth pain.
- Another cause of tooth pain is misaligned teeth and teeth that fail to erupt through the gum or impacted teeth. This type of toothache is usually a dull ache caused by pressure being applied to adjoining teeth. Misaligned or crooked teeth can cause uneven pressure on the tooth or on adjacent teeth which can cause the tooth to ache. Impacted teeth may become infected if bacteria grows in a pocket in the gum. This type of infection is called pericoronitis and causes the gum to swell and become inflamed. If pericoronitis isn’t treated it can result in severe pain and dangerous infections.
- Bruxism or tooth grinding can wear down the enamel of the tooth or cause the tooth to chip. In extreme cases of tooth grinding excessive force can cause pain in the jawbone, jaw muscles, as well as the teeth.
- Tooth pain can sometimes be caused by conditions that are not associated with the teeth. A sinus infection may cause pain that feels like it is in the teeth. That is because of the close proximity of the sinuses and the teeth. In rare cases, jaw or tooth pain may be a sign of a heart attack. Another source of pain that seems to be a toothache is trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by an intermittent sharp pain in the face.
- Toothaches are most commonly caused by tooth decay but it is important to have a dentist determine what is causing unexplained toothaches. Cavities are usually painless until decay has reached the sensitive inner layer or dentin when the pain can be extreme, once the decay has reached the pulp of the tooth the pain becomes intense. Advanced tooth decay can cause the roots of the tooth to become abscessed or infected. The pain from an abscessed tooth is a throbbing type of pain.
- Unidentified pain in the jaw or teeth may be caused by temporomandibular disorders. This is usually the result of an injury to the jaw. If you have braces, pain may result when the braces are periodically adjusted.
- When good oral hygiene isn’t practiced regularly the gums can become diseased and pull away from the teeth causing the roots of the tooth to become exposed. Exposed roots can be very painful and sensitive to hot and cold. Further erosion of the roots can be caused by acidic beverages, making the tooth more sensitive.