Pain in or around the tooth is often referred to as a toothache. Tooth pain can be mild or severe. It can also radiate to the jaw, face, and neck. Tooth pain can also be accompanied by sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. If you experience a toothache, you should never ignore it, even if the pain is not that bad. Pain in the tooth usually means there is a problem. This is why it's important to contact a dentist in the area you live so that they can examine your teeth. Once the dentist determines the cause, they will be able to treat it accordingly.
Here are three common causes of toothaches.
1. Untreated Cavities
A cavity is just another name for tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria, acid, and saliva create a sticky film called plaque. If this plaque is not removed, it will create a hole in the tooth called a cavity.
Besides tooth pain and sensitivity, other symptoms of tooth decay include bad breath, black spots on the teeth, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. When left untreated, a cavity will eventually destroy the tooth and it will need to be removed.
2. Abscessed Tooth
When pockets of pus form in different parts of the tooth or gums, it can cause a bacterial infection to occur. There are different ways bacteria can get inside the tooth or gums. Bacteria gets inside the soft pulp of a tooth through an untreated cavity. Gum disease also makes the gums more susceptible to bacteria.
Besides pain that sometimes radiates toward the neck, other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include:
- Pain that worsens while lying down
- Pain when chewing
- Red, swollen gums
- Swollen lymph nodes
Treatment options for an abscessed tooth include tooth removal, a root canal, or antibiotics.
3. Repetitive Motions
The primary function of the teeth is to chew food. This is one repetitive motion that usually doesn't cause toothaches. However, when other motions are done over and over again, it can add stress to the teeth, which in turn can result in a toothache. One repetitive motion in particular that has a negative effect on the teeth is grinding. Some people grind their teeth at night without knowing they are doing it.
Stress and anxiety also cause some people to grind their teeth. Others do it because they have misaligned teeth. Excessive grinding will cause tooth pain and can even damage the teeth. Treatment often depends upon the reason for teeth grinding. In order to prevent tooth damage, a dentist might recommend wearing a mouth guard at night.