Anybody who has ever had a toothache will testify that it’s one of the worst pains imaginable. When you hear the word ‘tooth pain’ it sounds pretty harmless. It isn’t until you actually experience a toothache that you realise just how unbearable it can be. So what exactly is it and why does it occur?
Understanding tooth pain
Tooth pain can affect the teeth and the jaws and it is considered to be the first sign of tooth decay. It affects people differently. Some will feel constant pain, while for others it will come and go. You may also find that eating or drinking something makes the problem worse. This typically occurs with foods that are either really hot or really cold. Many people also notice the pain is worse at nights than at any other time of day.
You’ll get tooth pain when the dental pulp located in the innermost layer of the tooth is inflamed. Dental pulp basically refers to delicate tissue that contains numerous blood vessels and sensitive nerves. There are many potential causes of inflamed dental pulp and the main ones include:
- Tooth decay
- Damage to the tooth
- Broken or loose fillings
- Periapical abscess
- Receding gums
When you suffer with tooth decay, it causes small cavities in the hard surface of your tooth. You may also have some damage to the tooth, such as a small crack. Often these cracks are extremely tiny and difficult for the naked eye to see.
If you have a bacterial infection, it can cause pus to build up at the end of the tooth. A Periapical abscess can be extremely painful.
Finally receding gums can expose the softer, sensitive roots of a tooth and that can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort.
Other causes of tooth pain
While the majority of tooth pain is caused by a problem with the dental pulp, there are a few other causes that could be to blame. These include:
- Periodontal abscess
- Swollen gums
- Joint injury in the jaw
A collection of pus could form in the gums if you have a bacterial infection. If a tooth is breaking through, you could also experience pain and swelling in the gums surrounding it. Or there could be a problem with the joint in the jaw.