Most of us have experienced an occasional toothache. Pain can be caused from a mouth injury, chewing something hard, or eating extra hot or cold food. However, when pain is extreme or persists, it is time to see a dentist.
Here are possible reasons for tooth pain that should be checked by a dentist.
Eating chewy caramel or crunching tough nuts can occasionally damage a tooth by causing a hairline fracture. This is more likely to happen if the tooth has a heavy, older filling or is weakened for any reason. You might not even know you have a fractured tooth until you begin feeling the pain. If it continues despite over-the-counter efforts to reduce irritation, schedule a dental exam. Cracked teeth that cannot be readily repaired may require dental crowns involving a procedure that retain the root and base of the tooth while replacing the top or damaged part with a synthetic tooth.
Another source of toothache is gum irritation. This can be caused by food or tobacco debris building up below the surface of the gum tissue, causing inflammation and pain. The discomfort can sometimes cause as much pain as a dental cavity. Fortunately, it can be treated with thorough tooth brushing, flossing, and possibly using a dental rinse. If you are not already doing so, be sure to brush your teeth after eating and floss daily.
If a tooth cracks or the gum tissue becomes more severe, infection can spread to the roots of a tooth, causing a more serious problem. The dentist can evaluate the problem and advise you on whether the tooth can be treated with medicine, providing a procedure like a root canal or a crown, or dental extraction. For a precise diagnosis, the dentist may need to do a visual exam, palpation of the gum tissue, and x-rays.
Decaying teeth is the most common cause of toothache. You probably have been diagnosed with tooth decay, or a cavity, at some point in your life. The dentist repairs cavities with various kinds of fillings that are sculpted to fit the decayed area, which has been smoothed and honed to prepare for a filling. The substance is often matched to your natural tooth color so that the filling is unnoticeable.
While toothaches are not uncommon, it is always a good idea to have the dentist check it out. Whether you can address it yourself with dental advice or have a procedure done to correct the problem, don’t let the issue get worse.
By Anita Ginsburg
who is a freelance writer and residing in Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. When looking into repairing a cracked and painful tooth, she recommends looking into dental crowns.