A persistent toothache that worsens over time could be due to several reasons, including tooth decay, pulpitis (inflammation of the pulp), cracks and fractures, impacted wisdom teeth, or gum disease.
- Tooth Decay: Cavities form when plaque (bacteria) removes your enamel. The pain can worsen as the cavity spreads into the dentin (middle layer) towards your nerves. The pain is often worse in the morning and can flare up when you eat hard foods.
- Pulpitis: Pulpitis occurs when the tissue in the middle of a tooth becomes irritated and inflamed. This leads to an accumulation of pressure inside the tooth and puts a strain on the gums and surrounding tissue. The tooth pain can become severe fast.
- Cracks and Fractures: Biting down hard on a tough object can cause cracks and fractures in your teeth. The pain you feel with a cracked tooth can range from dull pain to temperature sensitivity.
- Impacted Wisdom Teeth: A tooth can become impacted if it’s restricted in its natural movement. As wisdom teeth develop much later than the rest of the adult teeth, their attempts to align with the other molars aren’t straightforward. This can lead to pain and soreness.
- Gum Disease: Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue that surrounds and secures your teeth. This infection can cause the gums to lose their grip on the teeth and recede, which results in gaps and pockets. These pockets then fill with bacteria and leave the tooth roots vulnerable to decay. See gum disease treatment and dental implant in Brisbane.
When you visit an emergency dentist with tooth pain, they may perform several tests to diagnose the problem, including an X-ray, visual examination, percussion test, biting pressure test, and a cold air test.
- Disease Information: Tooth decay is the primary cause of toothaches in most adults and children. The pain is typically caused by bacteria in the mouth thriving on sugars and starches in the food we eat, leading to acid production that can erode the tooth’s enamel. This erosion can create a cavity, the first sign of which may be a pain when eating something sweet, cold, or hot. Other causes of a toothache can include inflammation or infection at the root of the tooth or in the gums, trauma to the tooth, a sudden fracture of the tooth or tooth root, a split in the tooth that occurs over time, or a sinus infection that manifests as pain in the teeth.
- Symptoms: Common types of tooth pain include intermittent jabbing or stabbing sensation, sharp sensitivity to temperature, dull nagging toothache, extreme throbbing pain, pain only when eating, and pain at the back of the jaw. Suppose a toothache persists for over a day or two or is accompanied by fever, signs of infection such as swelling, pain when biting, red gums, a foul-tasting discharge, or trouble breathing or swallowing. In that case, it’s crucial to consult a paediatric dentist or a general dentist immediately.
- Diagnostic Process: Brisbane Dentists can use several techniques to diagnose the cause of tooth pain, including X-rays to check for abscesses, cavities, and other hidden problems, visual examination, percussion test, biting pressure test, and a cold air test.
- Treatment: Toothache treatment often requires some form of intervention by a dentist or a paediatric dentist. Until a dentist can be seen, some self-care tips include rinsing the mouth with warm water, using dental floss to remove food particles or plaque wedged between the teeth, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, or applying a cold compress to the cheek if the toothache is caused by trauma. It’s important to use caution with products containing benzocaine, an ingredient in some over-the-counter antiseptics, as it has been linked to a rare and serious condition called methemoglobinemia.
- Prognosis: The prognosis for a toothache largely depends on its cause and how soon it’s treated. Regular check-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene can help prevent most causes of toothaches. If not treated, a toothache can lead to more severe complications like an abscess or a systemic infection.
A persistent toothache that worsens over time can be caused by various conditions, most commonly tooth decay. The pain occurs as bacteria in the mouth produce acids that eat through the enamel, creating a cavity. As the decay progresses, it can cause more severe pain, especially when consuming something sweet, cold, or hot. Other causes of a persistent toothache include inflammation or infection at the root of the tooth, trauma, a fracture, or an issue with the gums such as gum disease.
Toothache can manifest in different ways, with varying degrees of severity and frequency. It might come and go, be persistent, be triggered by eating or temperature changes, or be localized at the back of the jaw, often due to impacted wisdom teeth. A persistent and worsening toothache might indicate a serious condition, such as nerve damage, tooth decay, pulpitis, or gum disease, all requiring immediate dental attention.
Home remedies, such as rinsing the mouth with warm water, using dental floss to remove food particles, applying a cold compress to the cheek (if the toothache is caused by trauma), and taking over-the-counter pain relievers, can help manage the symptoms temporarily. However, seeing a dentist for a diagnosis and proper treatment is crucial, as these remedies are not long-term solutions.