Causes of Tooth Pain

Published Nov 18 2009

Truly, there is no pain like tooth pain! When your teeth are hurting, it affects the whole body, often making it nearly impossible to function in normal daily life. There is usually a simple explanation for a toothache: The nerve root is irritated or damaged in some way. Now, that simple explanation may explain what’s going on medically, but there are a number of factors which may be causing the nerve to be irritated.

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Tooth Decay

The most common problem which causes tooth pain is decay. Decay creates a hole in the tooth which extends down to the root. Often this is a called a “cavity.” A simple cavity can cause a your teeth to be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, without the sharp discomfort that is often associated with a cavity. However, when the cavity extends to the middle of the tooth, the root is then exposed to foreign elements which can cause severe irritation. A cavity is often filled or capped in order to fill the hole and protect the roots inside.

Mouth Injury

Another cause of tooth pain is direct oral injury. This can be caused a number of ways including sporting accidents, biting onto something too hard, or other freak accidents. If a tooth is damaged or partially dislodged, the roots can be strained or pinched, causing severe pain. Depending on the severity of the damage, sometimes that tooth can be saved by a dentist, and sometimes the tooth may need to be pulled out and a replacement put in its place. If your teeth are damaged, getting to the dentist quickly is imperative. The quicker a person can get into the dentist office, the more chance a dentists has of saving your teeth.

Tooth Knocked Out or Removed

The other way tooth pain occurs is if it actually falls out. When teeth are knocked out or pulled out, many times some of the root is left in the gum, which causes substantial pain. Even if the root is completely removed, if it is knocked out there is typically damage done to the gum, tissue, and jaw. This damage can add additional pain to the area.

Similar to Tooth Pain

There are also sources of pain which are not caused directly by the tooth itself, but can be disguised as tooth pain. If there is damage to the jaw or gums, a person may experience severe discomfort, even though your teeth are perfectly fine. In an instance like this, the teeth are not technically causing the discomfort, but the pain can be just as severe and can radiate through the mouth, just like a toothache.

In the end, if a person is experiencing a problem with their oral health, they need to get into a dental office as soon as possible. Using x-rays, a dentist can pinpoint the cause of a toothache and quickly get the problem fixed. If you are reading this while experiencing tooth pain, go to a local dentist office as soon as possible to get the problem taken care of.


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