Toothaches are a common problem, afflicting millions of people across the U.S. each year. Some toothaches are so painful that they are debilitating, while others just cause mild discomfort — but all toothaches should be taken seriously and warrant a call to your emergency dentist in Allen. But exactly what causes toothaches, and how can they be prevented and treated? This page discusses the answers to those questions.
Causes of Toothaches
A toothache in itself is not a dental problem; it is a symptom of a dental problem. Depending on the nature and severity of your pain, a toothache might indicate:
- If a cavity reaches the sensitive inner layers of a tooth, you may experience heightened sensitivity and jabbing tooth pain.
- A severe, throbbing toothache usually indicates an infection in a tooth’s interior chamber. This is a true dental emergency that requires prompt treatment.
- Worn enamel. Tooth enamel is designed to protect the sensitive inner layers of a tooth. When the enamel becomes thin, it can allow outside substances to irritate the tooth.
- Broken and cracked teeth often cause serious dental pain.
- Habitually clenching and grinding your teeth can cause painful dental damage.
- Damaged restorations. A lost or damaged crown, filling, or bridge may leave your teeth vulnerable to irritation and damage from outside substances.
There are many other possible causes of toothaches. Your dentist is the best person to assess the problem and provide an official diagnosis.
Dr. Kar encourages all of his patients to adopt healthy habits that can reduce your risk of developing a toothache. Such habits include:
- Attending regular checkups and cleanings
- Gently brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
- Wearing a mouthguard during sleep to prevent bruxism (if necessary)
- Eating a healthful diet that is low in sugar
- Visiting your dentist at the earliest sign of an oral health problem rather than waiting until the pain becomes significant
- Protecting your teeth from trauma by wearing a mouthguard during sports and not biting down on hard objects
Over the counter pain relievers and careful eating habits can help to mitigate the pain of a toothache. However, such actions do not address the underlying problem. You must visit a dentist for treatment. After Dr. Kar discusses your symptoms with you, examines your mouth, and perhaps orders some imaging scans, he will recommend a treatment. Possible ways to address a toothache include:
- Using a sensitivity-reducing toothpaste to reduce pain caused by thin tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots
- Root canal therapy to get rid of infected tissue inside a tooth
- Fillings to address cases of mild to moderate dental decay
- Crowns or other types of restorations to protect sensitive or damaged teeth
- Replacing old or damaged dental restorations
- Extractions (used only as a last resort)
Are you experiencing a toothache? Do not ignore the problem. Get in touch with our practice to request an appointment. Dr. Kar will see you as soon possible and help you to once again enjoy a healthy, pain-free smile.