Toothache? Here’s What It Could Indicate


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You may already know the feeling of biting down on your favorite food only for it to send a shudder down your jaw. Toothache is often seen as an alarming sign of cavities and tooth decay; however, this painful sensation can have several unexplored causes. Moreover, different levels of toothache can signify different issues with your oral health and may not always require drilling for a cure.

It’s important to remember that whether your toothache is sharp or dull, it requires immediate orthodontics treatment from a professional. So be sure to visit your dentist at the earliest when you start experiencing it. If you’ve already booked an appointment, it may help you to understand a little about toothache yourself. So let’s begin by exploring its common causes.


Common Causes of Toothache

While different kinds of a toothache may have different causes, the most common underlying cause is the inflammation of the tooth pulp. The pulp of your tooth is at the center and contains several nerve endings that are sensitive to pain. In most cases, the pulp experiences inflammation due to the following reasons:


Dental Cavities

Cavities or tooth decay are the most common cause of an inflamed pulp. When the decay starts to reach the central part of the tooth, the pain can start to get sharp and severe.


Any blunt force trauma on your tooth can cause damage to the roots and the pulp. While this may not be as common as tooth decay, trauma can sometimes require more serious treatment depending upon the intensity.


Infections and gum disease can cause your pulp to get inflamed as well. The pain you may experience in the case of infection is slightly similar to that of cavities and hence must be avoided.

Certain Dental Procedures

Certain dental procedures such as drilling or teeth whitening can leave your roots sensitive for a while. However, toothache in such cases mostly occurs when eating food that’s too hot or too cold.


Levels of Toothache And What They May Indicate

The kind of toothache you’re experiencing can say a lot about the underlying cause. Let’s explore the common types of toothaches and what they may indicate:


Level 1: Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is very common and even occurs in people with great oral health. This is because the tooth enamel generally protects the inner layers from various elements, such as extreme temperatures. However, the enamel can wear down with time and trauma while leaving the roots exposed.

These exposed roots are sensitive to hot and cold food and can feel slightly painful when you eat them. In many cases, simply switching your toothpaste can help cure sensitivity. However, you should consult your dentist to get a good recommendation.

Level 2: Dull Pain

Constant, dull pain in your tooth can be caused by either tooth decay or by food getting stuck between your teeth. If the dull ache is close to the back of your mouth, it could also be caused by your wisdom teeth. In either case, it’s best to get in touch with your dentist as soon as you start to experience this pain.

Level 3: Sharp Pain

Sharp pain in your teeth when biting down on something may feel quite intense. This usually points towards serious trauma on a particular tooth and needs immediate attention from a dentist. In certain cases, a sharp pain on a tooth that has a dental filling can indicate problems with the restoration and may require repeated drilling in order to fix it.

Level 4: Throbbing Toothache

Throbbing toothache is rather rare but is one of the more serious kinds of toothache. It can have several serious causes, including gum disease, a fractured tooth, or even untreated tooth decay. If you experience such pain, it will require an emergency visit to your dentist to fix the underlying cause before it’s too late.

Level 5: Debilitating Toothache

A throbbing toothache can evolve into a debilitating toothache if the underlying cause isn’t treated immediately. It can even result in more symptoms such as headache, nausea, and facial swelling. In some cases, such pain may even warrant a trip to the ER.


Common Treatments

For treating your toothache, it’s best to rely on your dentist as they would have the professional experience that an internet search cannot compete with. However, if your pain is on the lighter side, such as sensitivity or a dull ache, you can try some home treatments such as:

  • Try toothpaste meant for sensitive teeth.
  • Floss your teeth thoroughly to ensure nothing is stuck between them.
  • Avoid foods at extreme temperatures, such as coffee, ice cream, and soup.


As for the treatments that your dentist may use, it would largely depend on the underlying cause of your toothache. Some common procedures include:

  • Fillings for tooth decay
  • Antibiotics for Infections
  • Tooth extraction for serious trauma


Final Thoughts

Knowing the above information can be a game changer the next time you experience a toothache, as it will ensure you’re prepared to deal with it. Always remember to visit Complete Smile dentist on the first sign of serious pain as it can quickly develop into a more serious problem.

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