For such a small part of the body, a toothache can wreak havoc on your life. Constant throbbing and sharp pain in your mouth is a sign that something is wrong and qualifies as a dental emergency. There are a variety of reasons you could be experiencing a toothache, and you will need to see your dentist immediately to identify the culprit. Here are three of the most common reasons you may be experiencing pain in your teeth and the methods your dentist may use to bring you relief.
Cavities, also called tooth decay, are damaged areas in the enamel of your teeth. The decay causes holes to form in the tooth, and if untreated, the holes continue to get bigger and go deeper into the tooth. The decay starts on the outer surface of the tooth, called enamel, and at this point you may not be experiencing any discomfort. However, once the enamel is worn away, the hole will reach the next layer of the tooth called dentin. Dentin is softer than enamel and is connected to the nerve of the tooth which is when discomfort and pain begins. As the hole grows larger, it will reach the inner tooth, called pulp, and this is when you will experience not only severe pain, but also swollen gums, fever, or loss of the tooth.
It is best to identify cavities as early as possible. If your dentist detects a cavity early, she will simply fill in the hole and the tooth should be fine. In addition to good dental hygiene habits like brushing and flossing every day, you can ensure tooth decay will be identified early by visiting your dentist for a routine checkup and teeth cleaning twice a year.
If a cavity gets severe and the decay gets all the way to the pulp of the tooth, an abscess could form. An abscess is a swelling in the mouth that is caused by a pus-pocket and causes severe pain. When decay gets all the way to the center of the tooth, it is left unprotected and bacteria enters the root of the tooth, causing infection. This bacterial infection causes a pocket of pus to form.
If you have an abscess due to tooth decay, your dentist will probably want to perform a root canal. In a root canal, your dentist will remove the tooth’s pulp, clean out the area, and then shape and fill it which will seal off the root canal. Once a root canal is done, with proper care your restored tooth should function normally and last a lifetime.
A tooth fracture is a crack in the enamel of the tooth. Enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, is important because it protects the inner part of the tooth from damage and decay. If the enamel is fractured, the tooth is vulnerable to infection.
Minor fractures may not cause any pain, but if left untreated could get worse and cause further damage. This is why it is important to visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup so that he can identify any potential problems. Depending on how severe the fracture is, your dentist may place a crown over the tooth or decide the tooth needs a root canal.
While cavities, abscesses, and fractures are three common reasons people experience toothaches, there are other serious conditions that could be causing you pain. We would love to help you find relief from your pain, so make an appointment with Cornerstone Family Dentistry today!