Anyone who has suffered from dental pain understands just how uncomfortable it can be. There are many different ways that toothache can be experienced, for example, it may come and go, or it may be a constant pain.
So, what causes toothache? We experience toothache when the pulp of a tooth (the innermost layer of the tooth) comes to be inflamed. The pulp is made up of highly sensitive nerves and blood vessels, hence the resulting pain.
There are several reasons that pulp may become inflamed, for example:
- Tooth decay – decay can result in cavities forming in the hard surface of the tooth
- Loose or broken fillings
- A cracked or broken tooth
- Receding gums – this can expose the softer parts of the tooth
- Periapical abscess – this is caused by a bacterial infection, leading to a collection of pus at the end of the tooth
Symptoms of toothache can include pain when teeth are subjected to pressure, or to hot or cold stimuli – in some cases, the pain may persist after the pressure or stimuli are removed. As the inflammation of the pulp increases, the related pain can get more severe and lead to bleeding or discharge around a tooth or the gums, swelling around the tooth or jaw
There are also other conditions that can cause dental pain similar to toothache:
- Ulcers on the gums
- Temporomandibular joint injury – injuries to the joint that attaches the jaw to the skull
- Periodontal abscess – a collection of pus in the gums, caused by a bacterial infection
- Soreness around a tooth that is breaking through the gums
Pulp is not affected in these conditions.
What to do about dental pain and when to seek emergency dental care
If you are experiencing dental pain, in mild cases, you can take steps to relieve your pain at home while you arrange to see your dentist for a checkup. If you are suffering from toothache, non-prescription pain killers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help to relieve pain. It is also smart to avoid eating very hot or cold foods, as they can make the pain worse.
In most cases, toothache does suggest that you have an issue that should be cared for by a dentist. If you suffer from dental pain for more than a couple of days, be sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible, as the problem could get worse if you leave it for too long.
If you are suffering from severe pain that is making it hard for you to function, you should arrange for emergency treatment from your dentist. Severe dental pain may include sharp, stabbing pains, constant throbbing pain, bad inflammation around the tooth, irritated gums, or even an intense generalised mouth pain that you can’t quite work out where it is coming from.
If you experience severe symptoms of toothache or any other dental pain, call your dentist immediately – genuine dental emergencies are seen within 24 hours, but patients should get in touch as early as possible.
If you are suffering from severe dental pain, please call 020 7091 0677 to book an emergency appointment at Riverside Dental Spa, Vauxhall, South West London.