April 30, 2020
It’s happened to the best of us. The entirety of your busy day becomes overwhelmed by a toothache. Whether you took a bite of ice cream that was slightly too big or underestimated the structural integrity of the mixed nuts you were eating, the distraction of the pain in your mouth suddenly becomes the only discernible feeling in your body. A pain like this is inconvenient, if not unbearable to handle throughout the day. But what do you do now? Is this pain a dental emergency? Can it wait till your next visit to the dentist? There’s a variety of different underlying causes of a toothache. Your dentist can help you get to the root of your pain and put an end to it.
How Do I Describe My Tooth Pain?
While all would be classified as a “toothache,” it is important to understand what pain sensation you are feeling in order to figure out the cause. Certain ways to describe your pain may be:
- Intermittent Sharp Pains
- Sharp Tooth Sensitivity
- Dull Nagging Pain
- Extreme Throbbing Pain
- Pain While Eating
- Jaw Pain
What Does My Pain Mean?
Once you figure out what type of pain you are experiencing, you will be able to narrow down the possibilities to get to the root of the problem. Some common sources of toothaches are:
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay, more commonly known as a cavity, is something that happens when the outer layer of the tooth is eaten away by plaque. The deeper it is, the more painful it can be. If you suspect this could be the source of your pain, consult your dentist immediately.
- Pulpitis – This occurs when the tissues in the middle of the tooth, the pulp, become inflamed. It causes the tooth internal pressure and puts a strain on the gums and surrounding tissue. This condition can cause severe pain and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
- Cracks / Fractures – Cracks and fractures can eventually form from the wearing down of teeth or biting down on a tough object. Sometimes the crack is immediately evident, while other times it will only be apparent from a dull pain while eating. In this case schedule an appointment as soon as you can.
- Impacted Wisdom Teeth – This occurs when there is no room for the wisdom teeth. As the teeth try to align with other molars, they can become trapped under the gum which leads to pain and soreness. Talk to your dentist so your wisdom teeth can be evaluated.
- Gum Disease – This is an infection of the gum tissue which can cause the gums to recede and eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Contact your dentist immediately.
- Sensitive teeth – Having sensitive teeth is common and requires no medical treatment because it is not a dental emergency. There are ways to help combat sensitivity such as specially designed toothpastes.
- Dental Abscess – An abscess is caused by a buildup of bacteria. When infected, it can lead to inflammation, intense throbbing pain, and painful facial swelling. This requires immediate dental attention!
- Others – Sometimes, dental pain is caused by issues in other parts of the body, such as a sinus infection or congestion.
No matter what the cause of your toothache is, it is always best to contact your dentist with your questions and concerns so you can come up with the best solution and prevent further issues.
About the Author
Dr. C.J. Landry currently practices at Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA. With over 30 years of dental practice experience, he prioritizes being available for his patients 24 hours a day, even when the office is closed. He is happy to help you with any dental emergency you may have. For more information, you can visit his website or call (504) 348-0080.
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