As anyone who has ever had one knows, toothaches can be a major pain. Yet when faced with toothache, many people simply choose to wait it out and hope it goes away. Though this works in some cases, it can be a dangerous tactic in others. If you would like to learn more about the causes of toothache, read on. This article will explain two things your toothache might be trying to tell you.
1. You are suffering from gum disease.
Gum diseases, among which gingivitis is the most common form, are usually painless conditions. Yet a toothache can be a sign that you have developed a more severe form of gingivitis known as acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This condition is caused by an excessive amount of bacteria in the mouth. The likelihood of developing ANUG increases when any of the following risk factors are present:
- poor dental care
- lack of dental hygiene
- vitamin deficiencies due to poor diet
- excessive stress levels
- weakened immune systems
Proper treatment of this condition will require the assistance of a dental professional. If the disease has progressed far enough, they will have to surgically remove any dead tissue that may have formed. Otherwise, the condition is generally treated by thorough and repeated teeth cleanings, and by the implementation of proper dental hygiene practices.
2. You have an abscessed tooth.
Abscessed teeth are those that have become infected as the result of advanced tooth decay. This condition usually stems from untreated cavities. Because a cavity is literally a small hole, it makes it much easier for infections to penetrate into the sensitive core of your tooth--the pulp--and from there into the bone of your jaw.
A toothache is not the only symptom of an abscessed tooth. Other warning signs may include:
- sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- persistent bad breath
- swollen areas on the inside of the mouth, or along the jaw line
- open sores on the side of the gums
The treatment of an abscessed tooth depends to a large extent on how far the condition has progressed. In all cases, a dentist must drain the abscess in order to eliminate the infection. This can be done either through a root canal, an incision in the nearby gum tissue, or by extraction of the entire tooth. All three of these procedures are then generally followed up by an antibiotic regime, to keep infection at bay while your mouth heals.
If you're like most people, you don't exactly look forward to a visit with the dentist. Yet when toothache strikes, having it checked out at a dentist office may be your best course of action. Remember that, as with all pain, a toothache is your body's way of sending you a message.