Why Do I Have a Toothache? Underlying Toothache Causes

A toothache is an oral symptom that may seem common. You can even purchase over-the-counter solutions to ease the pain and go on with your day. But that doesn’t mean it’s something you should ignore and think everything’s fine with your oral health. A toothache can have various underlying causes, and it’s important to figure out if treatment is needed to solve a dental problem and prevent it from worsening.

Minor Toothaches

Sometimes, the toothache truly isn’t a big deal. Generally, this is when the pain is caused from gum irritation that quickly goes away. It could be from a piece of food that got stuck in the gum or some other temporary source of irritation. With this type, good oral hygiene, time to heal and possibly home remedies can help.

Toothaches That Need Treatment

Once a toothache has stayed around for longer than a day or two, it’s time to see your dentist. This is also the case if you have severe pain or the toothache is accompanied by other symptoms of earache, fever or pain when opening your mouth. Most likely, you won’t want to wait for a visit anyway because of the difficult symptoms you’re experiencing.

A toothache could be a sign of an underlying cause such as:

  • Tooth decay
  • Damage to a tooth’s filling
  • A broken tooth
  • Repetitive tooth grinding, clenching or chewing
  • Infection of the gums
  • An abscessed tooth, which has an infection inside it

These underlying toothache causes require treatment. Without it, the symptoms will persist and the problem will likely worsen. If you have an infection, it’s especially important to get quick treatment. Infection can become dangerous if it spreads to other parts of the head or the bloodstream.

Treating the Cause

It’s best to have a dentist evaluate your mouth to determine the cause of the toothache. The treatment will vary depending on the cause. For example, you might need a filling for tooth decay, a crown for a broken tooth, antibiotics for an infection or a root canal for an infection inside the tooth. Your dentist will talk to you about the best treatment to solve the underlying problem and relieve the pain in or around the tooth. 

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