Toothache is caused by inflammation of the innermost layer of the tooth. This inflammation can be caused by tooth decay, cracked or broken teeth, loose or broken fillings, gingival recessions. Sometimes, ulcers and injuries to the gums, regardless of the inflammation of the inner layer, can also cause toothache. A dentist must be seen for treatment. Your dentist may apply various methods of treatment depending on the cause of the pain. If you cannot go to a dentist immediately, you can use simple methods at home to ease your pain. Taking an over-the-counter painkiller, gargling with warm salt water, avoiding food and drinks that increase pain, and applying pain relieving and numbing plants such as cloves, garlic and mint to the painful area can help alleviate your toothache.
Toothache usually refers to pain in the mouth area caused by tooth decay. It can be felt in many ways. The pain may be mild or severe, may come and go or be constant. Especially hot-cold foods and drinks make the pain worse. At night, the pain is more severe, especially when lying down. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which tooth hurts. If the problem is with a molar in the lower jaw, the pain is often felt as if it were coming from the ear. Toothache in the upper jaw is felt in the cheekbone and the sinuses behind the forehead.
Problems and diseases that cause toothache
Tooth decay: Bacteria in the mouth form a plaque that sticks to the teeth with the food you eat. Acids produced by bacteria on the plaque also damage the enamel and cause tooth decay. The first sign of decay is the bitter feeling that occurs when you eat something sweet, too cold, or too hot. Sometimes the caries may appear as a brown or white spot on the tooth.
Tooth extract inflammation: This condition, also called pulpitis, is the inflammation and irritation of the nerve tissue and blood vessels in the middle of the tooth. This inflammation causes pressure to build up inside the tooth and exerts pressure on the surrounding tissue. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, the pain may be mild or severe. It is a condition that requires treatment.
Abscess: It is caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the infected tooth extract. This infection tries to evacuate itself from the tip of the tooth root. If left untreated, it swells causing serious pain. Most abscesses can be seen on dental X-rays.
Broken tooth: Teeth may weaken over time due to biting and chewing. The force exerted when trying to chew a hard object can also cause the tooth to crack. Pain and sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, sour foods during biting and chewing can be symptoms of a broken tooth.
Buried tooth: If there is not enough space in the mouth to remove the tooth, the tooth cannot move in the proper position and remains under the gum. This pressure can cause severe pain. The best example is wisdom teeth.
Gum disease: It is caused by inflammation of the gums. Infection causes the gums to deteriorate and gingival recessions, making the teeth more susceptible to caries. If left untreated, this may progress to tooth loss.
Tooth sensitivity: Sometimes the tooth or teeth may show sensitivity to cold weather, liquids and food. In this case, your dentist may recommend special toothpastes to alleviate symptoms and apply fluoride to your teeth.
Causes other than teeth: There are cases where toothache or sensitivity is not related to teeth. Sinusitis, for example, causes pain around the upper jaw. Joint injuries that connect the jaw to the skull can also cause tooth-like pain.
Clenching or grinding
Threading or filling
Damaged or broken fillings or coatings
Herpes or mouth aphthae can also cause toothache.
What should be the emergency response to toothache?
If you have a toothache that lasts more than a day or two, you should go to a dentist. If you need to see a dentist in an emergency or outside office hours, calling your own doctor is the first thing you should do. Your doctor will tell you what to do.
If you do not have a dentist, you can find a dentist near you and request an emergency appointment. Until the appointment, you can try simple methods at home to ease your toothache and provide temporary relief.