Tooth pain can be the result of a long slow process starting with discomfort and culminating in acute pain or it can be sudden onset due to trauma or infection.  When acute pain strikes you don’t care much whether it’s from excessive poor food choices or lack of home care or any other reason, you just want it fixed. A toothache, in general, is an indication of an underlying problem that needs immediate attention. So what are some of these underlying reasons? Let us find out.

1. Sensitive Tooth

If the toothache is intermittent, not isolated to a single toothand happens each time you consume hot or cold foods or breathe in cold air, you may be suffering from tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can happen due to a receding gum line or to chipped or eroded tooth enamel. Some use tooth sensitivity as an excuse to avoid dental cleanings.  If you experience tooth sensitivity, consult your dentist or registered dental hygienist who can identify the cause and recommend a number of treatment options. 

2. Pseudo Toothache

Sometimes you feel like you are experiencing a toothache but the pain is unrelated to your teeth.  Head and neck pain can radiate to make it feel like tooth pain.  Pain could be due to sinus infection. If your upper teeth are painful, sinusitis could be the reason and is treatable by a medical doctor. If the pain is in the jaw bone, you could be suffering from Temporomandibular disorder, commonly known as TMJ or TMD.  This usually results from trauma wherein the jaw becomes dislocated or as the result of degenerative processes such as arthritis.  This disorder, left untreated, can cause severe headaches and misalignment in jaw function. Clenching and grinding can sensitize the joint and cause teeth to be worn down prematurely.  Your dentist can identify the cause and recommend treatment options such as a desensitizing topical, specially formulated toopastes or a periodontal appliance such as a night guard.  

3. Wisdom Toothache

Wisdom teeth are 3rd molars that tend to erupt in late teen years or into adulthood.  Most people do not have space to accommodate these extra molars.  It is not uncommon that wisdom teeth fail to erupt but cause swelling and pain in the attempt.  Such a tooth is also known as impacted wisdom tooth. Your dentist will recommend an appropriate time for these teeth to be extracted, if necessary, so as to avoid future complications.  

4. Gum Diseases

Gum disease is common, being  present in 85% of adult populations.  Gum disease developes in stages, starting with gingivitis and leading to aggressive periodontal disease, if untreated.  This condition is not age specific and when you consider that oral bacteria is known to be shared in family groupings, ignoring periodontal gum disease puts all family members at risk.  It is recommended to discuss treatment options and management with you dentist or hygienist. 

5. Tooth Abscess

Generally, a tooth becomes abscessed when decay works through the outer layers of the tooth, invading the pulp and causing infection.  With no room for the resulting inflammation, the pain and pressure can become unbearable.  Any condition that involves trauma to the pulp whether it be infection or physical damage, requires immediate attention.  

Dentists will encourage patients to save a tooth whenever possible and most often recommend a root canal in such situations.   People still equate this procedure with its torturous history and opt for extracting the tooth.  This choice is irreversible – once extracted, the tooth is gone.    Once gone, adjacent teeth drift and bone loss occurs.  Replacement options can be expensive and never really mimic the natural tooth. 

 To avoid living with assumptions, it is advisable to visit a dentist and find out the cause of tooth pain.