A toothache can be an awful feeling. Toothaches range from hurting only occasionally to those that cause constant intense, throbbing pain. The symptoms of a severe toothache can cause a fever, headache, or a bad taste in your mouth, depending on what’s causing your headache. What are some of the causes of a common toothache, and how are they treated?
Tooth decay happens when plaque builds up on your teeth over time, hardening into a substance calledtartar. Plaque happens from lack of brushing, improper brushing, or eating foods that disrupt the balance of bacteria in the mouth, including sugary foods and corrosive drinks such as alcohol and soda. Over time, plaque destroys your tooth enamel, which is the protective shiny outer surface of your teeth.
Once the enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced. Loss of enamel allows bacteria to have access to your tooth’s roots, which can be very painful. Your toothache could mean you have tooth decay or a cavity, which is a minor form of tooth decay that can turn into a bigger problem if left untreated. The treatment for tooth decay may involve fluoride, crowns, a root canal, extractions, or fillings, depending on how extensive the damage to your teeth has been.
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
Your toothache may be caused by bruxism, or teeth grinding. You may not be conscious of this, or it may happen during your sleep. Teeth grinding can be very damaging to your smile, as the intense pressure put on the teeth can lead to fractures, cracks, or even inflammation and exposed roots. Your dentist can tell if you grind your teeth. There are nightly mouthguards you can wear to help during your sleeping hours, or you may even have an improper bite, which could also cause bruxism. You can get treatment for this through your dentist. Another remedy for bruxism is simply being conscious of the fact that you’re doing it. Many people grind their teeth out of irritation or stress, so be aware when you’re feeling these things. Reducing stress in your life can help your smile!
An infection can cause a bad taste in your mouth along with your toothache. An infection could happen from an abscessed tooth, which is when your tooth root is infected (generally as a result of decay), or from infected gums, which is likely a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. For abscessed teeth, your dentist will likely need to perform a root canal procedure, which involves cleaning the infection from your tooth’s root and sealing up the canal. For gingivitis or gum disease, your dentist will need to begin with a deep cleaning in an attempt to halt the process and reestablish the healthy relationship between the gums and teeth. This deep cleaning may be sufficient or you may require more extensive treatment, depending on your unique oral hygiene.
Getting regular checkups with your dentist is vital to good health as your dentist can spot problems well before they happen. Once a disease process such as gum disease or tooth decay has begun, it can be difficult to reverse. Adopt proper oral hygiene habits, and visit your dentist regularly to prevent toothaches!