Potential Causes of a Toothache

Blonde woman cringes in pain and touches her cheek due to a toothache

If you have a toothache, you’re likely wondering its cause. Here, we’ll discuss the potential causes of a toothache.

  1. Tooth Decay
  2. Untreated tooth decay is one of the most common causes of a toothache. Tooth decay occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, forms on the enamel of a tooth. As the bacteria feed on sugars in your mouth, they produce acids that wear away and demineralize your tooth’s enamel. When the enamel is permanently damaged, a cavity (or hole) is formed. If tooth decay reaches the layer of your tooth called dentin, underlying the enamel, you are likely to experience pain and sensitivity to hot, cold, and pressure.

  3. Gum Disease
  4. Early-stage gum disease is when plaque and tartar irritate the gums, causing them to become tender and swollen. If gum disease is not treated, this inflammation can lead to receding gums that form pockets between the tooth and gums, which become perfect little homes for bacteria. When the tooth roots in these pockets become even more irritated, you could start to feel pain in your teeth.

  5. Bruxism
  6. Also known as chronic teeth grinding and clenching, bruxism could be a reason for your toothache. Bruxism often occurs when you’re sleeping and most people don’t even know that they grind or clench their teeth. Over time, this pressure can wear down your enamel and cause toothaches.

  7. Cracked Tooth
  8. A cracked tooth can happen when you bite down hard on something like a popcorn kernel or could be from trauma to the mouth during a sporting event. When you have a cracked tooth you may have severe pain when biting or chewing and that tooth will be sensitive to sweet foods and hot and cold temperatures. Pain may also indicate that bacteria has entered the sensitive inner pulp of your tooth through the crack, leading to an infection.

  9. Impacted Tooth
  10. An impacted tooth is one that is being prevented from moving into its proper position in the mouth. Most commonly, wisdom teeth can become impacted because they are the last teeth in your mouth to erupt from the gums. Sometimes the jawbone doesn’t allow room for the wisdom teeth to erupt or the molars prohibit adequate space for the wisdom teeth to come up. Whatever the reason, impacted teeth are very uncomfortable and could be the reason for your toothache.

  11. Abscess
  12. An abscess is a buildup of bacteria inside the pulp chamber of the tooth. Abscesses are often the result of poor oral hygiene or untreated decay. Your toothache could be from the pressure and buildup of fluid and pus inside the pulp chamber and root canal.

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If you have a toothache, call us today for an appointment so we can determine its cause and the best course of treatment.

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Helotes Family Dentistry

Helotes Family Dentistry