What is a toothache?

Toothache,often, it is one of the worst pains to be felt by anyone. Many people experience it at least once, or even several times, in their lives. It is extremely uncomfortable and can prevent a person from performing routine tasks.

A toothache is an abnormal sensation caused by dental nerve stimulation and can be acute, mild, afflictive, throbbing, unbearable, severe, or moderate. It begins suddenly and may affect your ear, maxilla, and various teeth.

It is a common pain that can appear at any age, from birth to old age.

Why do teeth hurt?

The mouth has a bunch of nerves similar to the branches of a tree. The trigeminal nerve is the main nerve in the mouth and is divided into three branches. These branches supply feeling and sensation to the maxilla, mandible, and forehead.

In addition to these nerves in the mouth, there are other nerves that cause unpleasant pain. The tooth has a crown, which is the white visible surface. Inside is the pulp, where there are blood vessels and the nerve that connects the tooth to its root.

All dental nerves are connected to the trigeminal nerve. As a result, it may cause heterotopic pain, or in other words, pain that appears in a different tooth.

These nerves and its stimulation cause the above-mentioned uncomfortable sensations.

What causes a toothache?

  • Tooth decay is the most common cause of a toothache, which is a consequence of poor oral hygiene;
  • Gingivitis or gum swelling due to the excess of bacterial plaque may cause pain;
  • Teeth grinding or bruxism is generally a cause for a toothache and sore gums;
  • Pain in the ear;
  • Dental sensitivity;
  • Sinusitis or inflammation of the lining of the sinuses can cause a toothache if they are close to the upper jaw;
  • Gum abscesses;
  • Abrasion of the dental enamel;
  • Excessively hot or cold foods;
  • Pain in the ears;
  • Using braces may cause discomfort and mild pain;
  • Growing or erupting teeth in babies;
  • After a root canal treatment;
  • Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve.

How can I prevent a toothache?

The most straightforward way to avoid a toothache is to maintain good oral hygiene, mainly after meals. Brushing will remove dental plaque and prevent bacteria from destroying the enamel. Dental flossing is also essential to remove food remains from hard-to-reach gaps. Regular dental appointments prevent this issue as the dentist will timely detect cavities or oral diseases. Therefore, treating them will prevent painful situations.

How is a toothache treated?

Treatment depends on the various causes. Hence, an examination during the clinical appointment is important. Imaging or x-rays will provide images on gum tissue, tooth root, and potential tooth decay.

Medication such as aspirin, paracetamol, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatories will relieve the pain, but will not treat the cause. As a consequence, the pain will reappear if there is no treatment after the diagnosis. The dentist will solve this issue through clinical procedures, such as the removal of tooth decay, abscess drainage, or root canal treatment.

VitaCentre Medical Reference . Reviewed By Dra. Filomena Santos, Dentist, in July 22, 2022