When discussing a toothache, it impossible not to mention that dreadful and wearisome pain that many of us endured. The fact is that a toothache is usually accompanied by tooth sensitivity and painful sensation while eating or even breathing. Your dentist can suggest you perform several procedures such as an X-ray or dental examination in order to find out the underlying cause of your aching tooth. In this article, we gathered the six most common causes of an aching tooth.
1. Tooth decay
Tooth decay is an erosion and the formation of a cavity on the tooth surface (enamel). It usually happens due to plaque formation (an accumulation of bacteria on the teeth). These bacteria feed on sugar and food particles to produce acids. These acids tend to destroy the enamel which causes little holes and weak spots.
The holes become bigger over time and result in a cavity. Despite the fact that little cavities usually don’t cause any painful sensations, tooth decay can spread into the middle layer of the tooth called dentin. This may result in increased tooth sensitivity to temperature.
2. Gum disease
Gum disease can be described as a gum infection. It can be divided into two types, gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the condition in which the inflammation occurs in the gums and they become swollen, red and achy.
Periodontitis occurs when the gums become infected. If you leave severe gum disease untreated, it can result in gum deterioration and even bone loss. In this condition, the gums get detached from the teeth and these gum pockets start to accumulate more bacteria. Because of this, tooth roots become exposed and more open to plaque which results in the formation of cavities in the roots.
3. Tooth sensitivity
If you feel a sharp pain when your teeth are exposed to hot or cold foods and drinks, this means that your teeth are sensitive. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the dentin becomes exposed to different irritants. Cavities, cracks or worn fillings are able to aggravate the situation. Moreover, gum disease can also expose dentin and this can worsen the condition as well.
4. Pulpitis or tooth pulp inflammation
Pulpitis is a condition in which the tooth decay reaches the deep layers of pulp. With pulpitis, the tissue that is located in the center of the tooth (tooth pulp that has a lot of nerves and blood vessels) becomes inflamed. This irritation and inflammation lead to increased pressure in the tooth and nearby tissues as well. One of the most common symptoms of pulpitis is excessive sensitivity to different irritants such as hot or cold temperatures.
Pulpitis can also be caused by tooth injury or when the tooth needs a lot of invasive procedures. You should also know that there are two types of pulpitis known as reversible and irreversible pulpitis. In the case of reversible pulpitis, your painful sensations decrease in a few seconds after you get rid of the irritant. But irreversible pulpitis manifests itself by lingering pain for several minutes after the irritant’s removal.
5. Tooth fracture
Tooth fracture (or a cracked tooth) is the condition in which the tooth gets injured and cracks. This is quite common in athletes, but you can also break your tooth by eating hard foods. Moreover, bruxism (involuntary grinding of the teeth) can also lead to a tooth fracture.
The most common symptoms of this condition are sharp aching pain while eating or drinking, excessive sensitivity to cold or hot foods and drinks or even to sour or sweet products. But the fact is that there are different types of tooth fractures and only your doctor can determine the type and suggest your treatment options.
An abscess is a condition that is caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the pulp chamber. It can occur if you have untreated pulpitis or tooth decay. In this case, the pulp chamber becomes infected and drains itself through the tooth root. The draining infection in its turn causes pressure and pain that tends to worsen when eating. It is very important to get timely treatment because the abscess can lead to more severe pain and swelling.