Almost every adult has felt the harrowing pangs of tooth pain at least once in their lifetime. The handful of people who haven’t yet experienced it, have already made mental notes of the excruciating pain associated with it, by observing the sufferings of their near and dear ones. We’re all aware that a toothache is often caused by tooth decay, however, there are various other causative factors as well. Let’s take a look!
Tooth Decay (Dental Caries)
Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or dental cavities, is one of the most common causes of tooth pain. A tooth begins to decay via the action of harmful acids, secreted by bacteria present in the mouth. Foods consumed comprise sugars and starches, which when left on the teeth forms plaque. The bacteria in the oral cavity thrive on this plaque, and produce acids that erode tooth enamel. Continual erosion results in cavity formation. We cannot detect the presence of a cavity in its initial stages, except by regular visits to the dentist. You experience a toothache only after the cavity is quite large.
Periodontal disease or gum disease, is a condition in which gums get inflamed, and gradually the infection spreads to the bone supporting the tooth. The main cause of this condition is poor dental hygiene. Plaque accumulation and continual release of toxins by the bacteria in the oral cavity, results in damage of the gums. If this condition is left untreated, it can also result in tooth loss. In severe cases, the bone surrounding the tooth can also be damaged, which is why it needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Tooth Root Sensitivities
Gum diseases, if left untreated, will conduce to root sensitivity. This is because the toxins released by the bacteria, edge their way into the tooth enamel, causing the roots to get exposed. These exposed roots contribute to tooth root sensitivities. Consumption of cold, hot, or sour foods can cause the teeth to feel tender and raw.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder
Temporomandibular joint is the joint formed between the mandible (lower jaw) and the skull. Conditions like facial injury, teeth grinding, arthritis, etc., can lead to inflammation of the joint. The muscles surrounding this joint undergo spasms, and make simple tasks like opening of the mouth very difficult. The patient experiences pain in the jaws, ears, and even the teeth. Thus, TMJ is another cause of tooth pain. Oral anti-inflammatory medications can be given to alleviate the pain.
A powerful blow to the mouth during an accident can cause a fracture in one or more teeth. Moreover, forceful biting on hard objects can also cause the teeth to crack. The crack may or may not be severe. If it’s not severe, you may experience pain while chewing food. In severe cases, excruciating pain will be experienced.
Besides these dental causes, a toothache can be caused by non-dental causes as well. For example, sinus or ear infections can also lead to tooth pain. To avoid pain spearheaded by any of the above causes, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene.