Ignoring the early warning signs of an oral health problem, such as toothache, can have serious consequences. That’s because toothache causes can be attributed to underlying issues affecting the teeth and gums. It doesn’t matter if the tooth is sending out shooting flares of agony, or if it’s more of a dull, throbbing annoyance, pain is the body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. And a toothache that just won’t go away is sending a very clear message that it’s time to contact a dentist!
What Causes Toothache Pain?
What is a toothache? Quite simply, it’s a pain that originates in the tooth, gums, or jawbone. But there can be many complex causes for this pain, all of which will eventually require professional help to reverse or correct. For instance, toothache causes can be due to:
- Infected Gums – When plaque builds up on the teeth, the gums can become inflamed, which can cause a worsening condition called periodontitis.
- Fractured Tooth – Teeth can fracture, crack, or chip when injured, and often these small traumas can lead to an intensifying pain that requires emergency dental services.
- Impacted Tooth – An overcrowded mouth can lead to teeth becoming impacted in the gum tissue or bone as it tries to emerge—wisdom teeth, in particular, are often the source of a throbbing jaw pain.
- Tooth Decay – Also known as cavities, this decay of either the enamel or dentin can grow larger and eventually lead to pits in your teeth that become susceptible to bacterial infection if not treated by a dentist.
- Grinding Teeth – Bruxism, the grinding or clenching of teeth, can not only cause a sore jaw, but can also damage teeth and result in other conditions such as TMJ.
When Should I See a Doctor For Tooth Pain?
A lot of people might wonder: How long does a toothache last? Will it eventually just go away? In some cases, the symptoms that arise from the pain—a toothache headache, for instance—might subside or lessen, but that doesn’t mean the problem won’t still require the attention of an oral health care professional. The fact is, the earlier you notice the warning signs of a potential problem and contact a dentist, the better you’ll be able to prevent a whole host of health-related issues. Here are just a few:
- Gum Disease – Gum disease builds up over time, and in the early stages is often accompanied by bleeding gums during brushing. It’s important to seek treatment early to prevent further bacterial buildup!
- Tooth Decay and Cavities: Pain associated with cavities often isn’t noticeable until it gets close to nerve endings, at which point a costly crown or even tooth extraction may be necessary. If you visit the dentist regularly, however, an inexpensive dental filling is typically all that’s needed to stop the decay.
- Serious Infection – an abscessed tooth, which is essentially a pocket of bacterial pus that forms around the root of an infected tooth, can be especially dangerous. It can rupture and send the infection through your bloodstream and into other parts of the body, potentially leading to a life-threatening condition called sepsis that requires emergency medical treatment.
Prevention Is Key
The most important factor in avoiding future toothache pain is to focus on preventive dental care. Make sure you’re brushing twice, flossing at least once, and using mouthwash daily to kill unwanted bacteria. And don’t forget to avoid sugar and swap out your toothbrush every few months! But most importantly—make it a priority to visit an oral health professional twice a year for regular teeth cleanings. Whatever your toothache causes may be, practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist will stop the problem from getting worse.
Inspire Dental Wellness of Orland Park offers a cozy, comfortable environment for your family’s general dentistry needs. We also provide specialized preventative care as well as emergency services. Our goal is to make you feel at home and like you’re a part of our dental family! Learn more about what we have to offer, and come see why we’re one of Orland Park’s most trusted oral health providers.