Dealing with tooth sensitivity is frustrating. Eating ice cream, drinking coffee, or taking a bite of certain textures can cause pain and make it challenging to enjoy regular food and drinks. Toothaches aren’t always life-threatening, but they could be a symptom of a more significant problem.
Because underlying issues such as cavities, gum disease, tooth erosion, and many others can cause sensitive teeth, scheduling an appointment with your dentist is always the first plan of attack. The effects of your toothache largely depend on what causes it. You should always minimize the risk of developing issues by practicing good oral hygiene, but sometimes natural wear and tear on your teeth happen. Here are five potential causes of toothache to watch out for.
Tooth decay happens as a result of bacterial infection and is the most common cause of toothache. It causes cavities and a whole host of other problems.
Bacteria is a natural part of your mouth’s ecosystem. Not all bacteria is bad. Some bacteria in the mouth helps to digest food and reduce oral disease. However, when you allow bad bacteria to get out of control, that’s when tooth decay sets in.
Saliva aids in cleaning your mouth and washing away all of the bad bacteria. Doing things that aid in saliva production improves your oral health and prevents the buildup of bad bacteria. Eating produces saliva, so skipping meals can have a negative impact on your oral hygiene.
Avoid breathing through your mouth, which can make saliva evaporate. If you tend to breathe through your mouth while exercising or you take medications that cause dry mouth, drink plenty of fluids and brush or scrape your tongue to get rid of the bad bacteria that accumulates there.
Weak teeth are more prone to injury. If your teeth are fragile, your teeth can break on their own. Other times, injuries happen when biting into something hard. It can cause severe pain and requires medical attention.
To maintain the health of your teeth, establish proper brushing and flossing habits. Holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brushing gently in a circular motion prevents enamel loss and deterioration.
Scrubbing your teeth like you would scrub a dirty floor causes recessed gums, exposing more of the tooth to damage. Pay attention to how hard you press when brushing your teeth. If the bristles of your brush spread out and apart, you are pushing too hard. Be sure you use a soft bristled brush to reduce damage to your teeth and gums.
Gum recession causes toothache if left untreated. When the margins of your gums pull back, they expose more of your teeth. This leads to gaps between the tooth and the gum line. This newly exposed portion of your teeth is more vulnerable than the rest of your teeth and more prone to plaque buildup and infection.
If left untreated, gum recession can cause other issues like the deterioration of the jaw bone, and demineralization of its tissue. These conditions increase the risk of bone infection, and as you can guess, if this is left untreated, can spread very rapidly.
Impacted wisdom teeth are common and can cause incredible pain. In most cases, as wisdom teeth erupt through the gums, it causes pain, much like a teething baby. Other times, there’s not enough room in a person’s mouth for the wisdom teeth as they grow. In both cases, removing the wisdom teeth causes some short-term discomfort, but can reduce pain in the long run.
If tooth decay is severe or if any condition is left untreated, it can cause a periapical abscess. When pus forms at the end of the gums and inside the teeth, it results in a bacterial infection or a periapical abscess. Antibiotics and drainage of the abscess are required in these situations to reduce swelling, pain, and bacteria. However, in extreme circumstances, extraction may be necessary.
Your dentist can advise you on the appropriate treatment once he or she performs an exam. Painkillers may provide temporary relief, but fillings, caps, crowns, root canals, and extractions relieve more severe problems.
To avoid these problems and other toothache in the future, maintain your oral health with regular visits to the dentist. Establish habits like consuming fewer sugary or acidic foods, and brushing and flossing regularly. What starts out as a mild toothache can turn into something more serious very quickly, so don’t ignore it, especially if you develop other symptoms such as fever, earache, or swelling.
Timely treatment can help you avoid further complications or the spread of disease to other parts of your body. Always seek the help of a professional to ensure there is nothing more serious than a normal toothache.
Paul Lee, the author of this article, writes in support of Thantakit International Dental Center. If you’re on the lookout for a dentist in Bangkok, make sure to book an appointment with Thantakit Dental Center right away.