5 Causes for Your Toothache: It Might Not Be a Cavity!

Learn how to spot different types of toothaches.

 

Toothaches are literally a pain. Whether it’s the first time you’ve gotten one or you’re a repeat sufferer, a toothache is bound to get you down.

It’s hard to work and equally hard to enjoy fun activities when you’re hurting. That’s why National Toothache Day on February 9th exists. Don’t worry! This is certainly not a holiday to celebrate the dreaded ache: it’s about education and awareness. It’s about helping people learn what types of toothaches exist and how to make them go away fast!

Not all toothaches are due to cavities. This National Toothache Day, we want to take the opportunity to promote your health through education!  Below is a list of common types and a few toothache remedies that can help.

1. Bruxism and other health problems. Hurting teeth can be a symptom of a more serious complication. Your teeth (and even head) may hurt because of the an excessive teeth grinding habit called bruxism. Oftentimes people grind their teeth at night and don’t realize it. If you think you might have bruxism, you can get a nightguard to keep you from grinding the teeth at night. This isn’t just important to relieve your pain; it also protects your teeth from further wear.

Also, if you are suffering from sinus infection you may notice bleeding or tender gums. To address a sinus infection, more often than not you’ll need to go to a doctor and get an antibiotic. As the infection goes away, you’ll find that your gum pain does, too.

2. Mouth infection. Even if you don’t have a cavity, you can get a toothache from an infection in the mouth or gums. A constant, throbbing toothache is often caused by a cracked or abscessed tooth. If you think you might have an infection in your mouth, you should go to the dentist to have it checked out.

3. Gingivitis (gum disease). While it’s common, that doesn’t mean gingivitis isn’t serious. If left untreated, it will develop into periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria have entered deep into the mouth and have infected your teeth’s bone structure. Gingivitis may also be a symptom of cancer, diabetes, or vitamin deficiency. If you have bleeding or tender gums, it is probable that you have gingivitis.

You can self-treat by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft brush, and flossing gently. To relieve symptoms and improve the health of your gums you can swish warm salt water. There are also over-the-counter mouthwashes that you can use regularly to fight the bacteria causing the gingivitis. If you’ve done all this for two weeks and still have bleeding gums, it’s time to see your dentist for more targeted treatment.

toothache4. Impacted wisdom teeth. Even if you have great oral hygiene and go to the dentist regularly, you could still experience a toothache for quite a different reason from those mentioned above. Wisdom teeth typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. If your wisdom teeth don’t have room to grow, then they are considered “impacted.” Teeth may be displaced or twisted as they try to emerge. The only remedy for impacted wisdom teeth is removal. If you’re experiencing pain in the back of your mouth and you’re between 17 and 21, it is likely time for you to go to the dentist for an evaluation.  

5. Cavities. Finally, a very common and well-known reason for toothache is a cavity. Cavities are caused by plaque buildup and bacteria. You may experience a cavity as a minor insensitivity, a dull ache, or even agonizing pain. No matter how intense the pain, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist immediately. Cavities can have far-ranging effects on your mouth and body if left untreated.

While you wait for your dentist appointment, there are a few toothache pain relief strategies you can try. First, swishing warm salt water in your mouth is helpful in sanitizing your mouth and relieving the pain. You can also apply an ice pack against the outer area of your face where the tooth is located to lower the inflammation. Finally, don’t neglect basic care such as brushing and flossing each day to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

National Toothache Day

Toothaches can affect you in many ways, making it hard to eat, sleep, and even talk. This February 9th, help your family understand the implications of tooth pain and share these tips for toothache relief. There are a variety of conditions that can cause you to have a toothache. Have compassion if you notice someone has a toothache, and send him or her to the dentist!

To get in touch with our family dentists at Penn Dental Family Practice, please give us a call at 215-898-PDFP (7337).