Toothache Toothache


Toothache is a common dental problem, and it is characterised by pains in and around the teeth. It occurs in both adults and children and can be very discomforting. In most cases, you will be required to see a dentist if the pain persists for more than a day or two.

In this article, we will be showing you all you need to know about toothache — vital things such as when to see a dentist, the primary causes of toothache and how to avoid them would be treated.

Read further for more information on toothache.

Table of content

  1. What is toothache?
  2. What causes toothache?
  3. Treating toothache
  4. How to prevent toothache

What is toothache?

Toothache is the pain that occurs in and around the teeth and jaws, and this pain is usually caused by tooth decay. Toothache can be felt in several ways, it comes and goes, and it can also be constant. Eating and drinking can worsen the pain, especially if the food or drink is hot or cold.

The ache can also range from mild to severe; it can start suddenly sometimes and cause sharp pains. Toothache can be worse at night, especially when you are lying down.

This pain can start due to a broken tooth or a lost filling. Sometimes, it is difficult to know the part of the teeth the pain is coming from, whether it’s in your upper or lower teeth. The pain can feel like it is coming from the ear if the lower molar tooth is affected. It can also feel like it is coming from the sinuses when the molar in the upper teeth is affected.

The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities located behind your forehead and cheekbones. The part of the jaw close to the painful tooth will feel sore and tender to touch.

Periodontal disease can also cause a dull pain, periodontal disease is caused by bacteria, and it destroys the hard and soft structures supporting the teeth.

What causes toothache?

Toothache is caused by the inflammation of the dental pulp, which is the innermost layer of the tooth. The pulp is made up of several blood vessels and sensitive nerves.

Some factors can lead to the inflammation of the dental pulp, and some of them are:

  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay creates holes (cavities) in the hard surface of your tooth; this can expose the pulp and make it inflamed.
  • Cracked tooth: A cracked tooth, even though it’s invisible, it can cause toothache.
  • A loosed or broken fillings can cause toothache
  • Receding gum: This is a situation in which the gums shrink or contract; this exposes the more sensitive and softer part of the tooth root.

Other medical conditions can cause pains that are similar to that of toothache. You can feel the pain in your teeth even if the pulp of your tooth is not affected.

Some of these medical conditions are:

  • Periodontal abscess: This is a medical condition characterised by the collection of pus in the gum, and bacteria often cause it.
  • Sores or ulcers on the gum
  • Swollen gums and sores around a tooth that is breaking through, for instance, a wisdom tooth can give pain similar to that of toothache.
  • Sinusitis: This condition, the inflammation of the sinuses can lead to pains around the upper jaw.
  • An injury to the joint that is attached to the skull can lead to pains.

Babies can also experience pains and discomforts when their teeth are developing; this process is known as teething.

When to see your dentist

If your toothache persists for more than a day or two, visit your dentist immediately so that he/she can have it checked and treatment can start immediately.

It can get worse and lead to more damages if you wait for a longer time, also, if you don’t treat your toothache early, it can infect the pulp inside your tooth, and this will eventually lead to a dental abscess, a condition characterised by severe and constant throbbing pain.

Painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol will help reduce the pain and the discomfort you are experiencing. Take painkillers while waiting for an appointment but do not give aspirin to children less than 16 years of age

Treating toothache

The treatment of toothache depends on the cause of the pain; the root cause has to be treated if not, the problem will reoccur. So a dental team will examine your mouth, and an x-ray can be carried out to identify the main cause of the problem.

If tooth decay is responsible for your toothache, the dental team will remove the decayed parts of the tooth and replace it with a filling. If the toothache is caused by a loose or broken filling, the fillings will be taken out, the decay removed, and a new filling will be added.

If the toothache is due an infected pulp, the dental team will carry out a root canal treatment, and this process involves removing the infected pulp and inserting a special type of filling to seal the tooth and prevent it from becoming re-infected.

Your tooth might be removed if the toothache cannot be treated using any of these methods. It can also be removed if the tooth is wedged between your jaw and another tooth (impacted).

How to prevent toothache

There are many ways to avoid toothache, but the most effective way is to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. There are several ways to prevent this; some of them are:

  • The intake of sugary foods and drinks should be reduced, you can have them occasionally, but this should only be during meals.
  • Brush your teeth gently using fluoride toothpaste; you should also brush your tongue and gums as well. Do this twice daily.
  • Clean between your teeth using a mouthwash or dental floss.
  • Quit smoking; it worsens dental problems.

Also, go for a dental examination regularly, it prevents toothache and reduces your risks of greater dental problems. It helps your dentist spot problems early and treat them immediately.

The time between your check-ups can vary as this depends on how healthy your teeth and gums are, it also depends on your risks of developing dental problems in the future.

Our dental team at Harley Street London can suggest when you should have your next check-up based on your overall dental health. Contact us for toothaches and any dental problem, and we will be happy to work closely with you and ensure you have the best treatment that suits your case.

It is also advisable for children to have a regular dental check-up at least every six months. This will help spot a tooth decay fast and get it treated in time to prevent it from getting worse.

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