Dental cavity (decay) or infection- dental decay or infection can cause a toothache. Regular dental check ups can prevent decay from spreading or progressing to the nerve. An infection sometimes can be seen as a bump (similar to a pimple) on the gums near the infected tooth. A bad taste can also be present near the infection site.
Trauma- this can come in many different forms, but a blow to the face or teeth can cause a toothache. Check to make sure the tooth is still intact and not loose or chipped. Also check the surrounding area for fractures or bruising. You may also notice a change in the color of the tooth/teeth. A tooth will usually present with a darker appearance after trauma. Contact our dental office if you notice any changes or if you have pain.
Clenching/grinding- excessive pressure on your teeth can cause irritation/inflammation to the nerve inside the tooth that can cause a toothache. This clenching and grinding is most common during the night time or during stressful periods of one's life. Your sleeping partner may notice you doing this while you sleep. It is often hard for us know if we actually clench/grind at night unless someone tells us or we have tight/sore jaws when we wake up. A dental night guard can protect the teeth and lessen the pressure that clenching/grinding can cause. Not only can you have a toothache; your jaw can hurt and you can even fracture your own teeth. Children often grind their teeth as they are erupting and this is normal and not a concern. This will not affect their permanent teeth.
Cracked tooth or restoration- this can follow trauma or constant clenching. If you notice that when you put your teeth together and then open them they hurt or if you have a sharp pain on biting you may have a cracked tooth. The tooth may not hurt when you have them closed, but when you release that pressure the crack releases and causes discomfort. If you notice a crack or split tooth contact the office immediately to avoid having the crack getting bigger and going deeper into the tooth.
Receded gums (exposed tooth root)- if your gums have receded away from your tooth you could have root sensitivity. The more exposed the root of the tooth is the better the chance for sensitivity (especially with cold liquid or air). The dentist can provide relief with a product that is placed directly on the tooth that is causing the sensitivity.
Loose teeth- when children are about to lose their baby teeth they can complain of a toothache. As the baby (primary) tooth loosens sharp areas of the remaining tooth can dig into the gums and cause discomfort. If adult (permanent) teeth are excessively loose they can cause discomfort as the tooth pulls against the gum tissue and irritates the dental nerve. Contact the dental office if you notice any loose teeth.
NEVER PLACE ASPIRIN OR MEDICATION DIRECTLY ON YOUR TEETH TO TREAT A TOOTHACHE!!!