A toothache can be caused by multiple factors affecting the tooth. The most common we see include, but are not limited to:
- Fractured Tooth
A fractured tooth is caused by heavy trauma to the remaining tooth structure from opposing teeth or hard foreign items like food. Usually, the tooth goes thru a series of changes including microfractures that leave small lines in the remaining enamel of the tooth. After changes in temperature and increased trauma, the enamel or remaining tooth structure will chip or fracture. Depending upon the size, bonding may be completed or if too deep, the area may need surgical intervention.
- Decay or Cavitated Tooth
Decayed teeth come from sugar and acid allowing bacteria to degrade the tooth structure. Usually, these areas are diagnosed by the dentist by feeling the remaining soft tooth structure with an explorer. These areas may be slightly sensitive and most likely discolored. They may range in color from green, to brown or even black. These areas are fixed with simple bonding unless the cavity has reached the pulp, in which case the options for treatment become root canal or some other surgical option.
- Infection in the Tooth
Infection in the tooth is present when bacteria have had the chance to access the pulp or blood supply of the tooth. This allows the bacteria a highway into the tooth and to make the tooth build up pressure inside the pulp canal. This pressure is translated to the patient as pain or discomfort. In this situation, a root canal or surgical intervention are the only treatments available.
- Infection in the Bone
Infection in the bone happens after a long time of allowing an infection in the tooth to grow. This infection may cause swelling of the surrounding tissues and extreme throbbing. Infection in the bone is often referenced as an abscess and may have drainage of poor tasting infection into the mouth. It is extremely important to get dental emergency care as soon as possible. Dental emergency care can be seeing a dentist for evaluation or visiting a local hospital for drainage of large infections. Allowing days or weeks to pass with an abscess may lead to sepsis or a blood infection that has dire consequences.