Tooth pain can be felt in or around a tooth when chewing, consuming hot or cold food or drinks, or even when at rest. Toothaches tend to occur as a result of some kind of tooth trauma or a dental condition, such as a cracked tooth, dental cavity, advanced gum disease, or an exposed tooth root. However, you may also experience tooth pain due to disorders of the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint. The severity of the pain can be mild, sharp, or excruciating, and can vary in occurrence, from periodic to chronic.
Tooth pain may be caused by:
Dental caries or cavities
Tooth root sensitivities
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
It’s important that you visit a dentist for a thorough examination, which includes a visual examination of the tooth and dental X-rays, to diagnose the cause of the pain and recommend an appropriate long-term treatment. Keep in mind that some toothaches may be caused by a problem that doesn’t originate from a tooth or the jaw. Pain around the teeth and jaws can be a sign of diseases of the ears (such as ear infections), heart (such as heart attack or angina), and sinuses (air passages of the cheekbones). In such cases, your dentist may refer you to a doctor or specialist to diagnose medical illnesses causing the tooth pain.
Treatment for tooth pain
Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist may recommend the use of over-the-counter pain relief medication, extraction of an impacted tooth, topical fluoride application for minor tooth sensitivities, a dental filling for small and shallow cavities, or a dental crown for larger cavities. For cases that involve an injured pulp or infection, then you may require root canal therapy or extraction of the affected tooth followed by tooth replacement. Cases involving advanced gum disease may require thorough cleaning, as well as scaling and root planning, combined with improved oral hygiene practices.
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