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28 / 07 / 2022

The Causes Of Toothache And How To Prevent It Happening

Unfortunately, toothache is a common condition that many of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It can be mild or severe and last for days if untreated. However, a number of factors can cause this discomfort. Toothache can actually be a misleading term. The associated pain is often present in the jaw or face, as well as the affected tooth. Depending on the cause, a toothache can feel like continuous throbbing or sharp intermittent pain. Tooth sensitivity, triggered by eating something cold, hot or sweet, can also cause discomfort.

Sometimes a mild toothache can occur due to a variety of factors. In children or young adults, for example, it can be a side effect of teething or the eruption of new teeth. However, you should see your dentist about any toothache that lasts more than two days. You should also seek advice if you have a high temperature, swelling or a bad taste in your mouth.

What Causes Toothache?

A number of issues can cause toothache. The most common include tooth decay, tooth abscesses and tooth damage. Tooth decay happens when plaque builds up and produces acid. In turn, this can lead to dental caries (holes in your teeth). Cavities can penetrate the tooth enamel to reach the sensitive dentine inner layer with predictably painful results.

Another cause of toothache can be physical tooth damage. For example, if you chip or break a tooth due to trauma, this could cause problems. Teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching (sometimes known as bruxism) can also lead to problems and pain. As you’d expect, a damaged filling, crown or dental implant can also feel very uncomfortable.

A dental abscess, caused by a bacterial infection, can trigger extremely painful toothache. An abscess is formed with pus that gathers inside the teeth, gums or bone that holds the teeth in position. It won’t go away without treatment and it can spread to other parts of the body, too.

Gum disease (also known as gingivitis or periodontal disease) is another condition that can contribute to tooth pain. Temporomandibular Disorder – one of the most common causes of jaw pain – can also affect your teeth.

It’s worth being aware of the fact that a number of non-dental conditions can cause toothache. The most common culprits include sinus infections, cluster headaches, and Vitamin B12 deficiency

Toothache Prevention

In many cases, toothache can be preventable. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is the best place to start. So make sure you take care of your teeth and gums. Brush for at least two minutes, with fluoride toothpaste, at least twice a day. This helps to stop the build-up of plaque that causes tooth decay (and toothache). And don’t forget to floss! Flossing helps to dislodge food from your teeth, to keep them cleaner. It also helps to remove plaque along the gum line.

Watching what you eat – and consuming less sugar in particular – won’t just help to ward off weight gain. Too much sweet stuff seriously raises the risk of cavities. Every time you eat something, bacteria react with leftover food to produce yet more enamel-attacking acid. So try not to constantly ‘graze’. And swap those sugary sodas for water to further limit tooth erosion. Remember to keep a watchful eye on your alcohol consumption, too.

One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay, and the toothache that accompanies it, is to visit your dentist. There is no substitute for regular check-ups. We can then spot a potential problem before it becomes serious. If you’re already suffering, we will be able to treat your toothache promptly and offer appropriate guidance and advice.

Our qualified dental nurses and knowledgeable practice receptionist are also available to provide you with additional support. You can follow us on Twitter @LighthouseDent2 for regular updates about how to keep your teeth healthy and pain-free.

Toothache Treatments

If your toothache is minor, or you need interim relief until you can get to your dentist, try an over-the-counter painkiller. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can also help to relieve pain.

How your dentist treats your toothache will depend on its causes – and severity. If your tooth decay is in the early stages, your dentist could apply a fluoride gel to the affected area. This will help to strengthen your tooth enamel and make it more resistant to acid/plaque erosion.

If a cavity is causing your toothache, your dentist may recommend a filling. A filling literally repairs a hole in a tooth. These days, there are a number of different materials available. The most common colours are silver and white. If your dentist is unable to fill the hole, we may decide to fit a crown instead. This is simply an artificial cover or “cap” that fits over an existing tooth. It’s a very common restoration option for teeth with cavities that are just too big to be filled.

If your tooth is very damaged (or even loose thanks to severe gum disease), your dentist may feel it is necessary for extraction. Simple extractions are usually carried out under local anaesthetic. It may be possible for us to replace the extracted tooth with an implant, partial denture or bridge.

If your tooth is badly infected – but salvageable – root canal treatment may be an option. As the name suggests, this procedure treats the infection within the dentine’s main canals. During the treatment, the tooth pulp is removed, and the tooth’s interior is cleaned and sealed. It might sound scary, but you’ll be given a local anaesthetic to ensure the procedure is pain-free. Best of all, your restored tooth could then last a lifetime, if cared for properly.

We offer Denplan.

We are here to help you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly team about any of the issues in this article please visit our contact page or call us on 01473 257379.

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Earlmain L

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“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not onl...“

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“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond ...“

Dee D

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“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth ...“

Earlmain L

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“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was una...“

Ginette S

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“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly pu...“

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