Teeth carry out the mechanical breaking down of food into smaller pieces, making it more convenient for the stomach and intestines to carry out their respective functions. But these cutters and crushers in our mouths are prone to many problems, and most of them are evident through extreme tooth pain.
Tooth pain in and around the teeth, gums, or jaws is caused mostly by various dental problems such as tooth decay, dental cavity or infection, gum disease, tooth breakage or fracture, etc. In some cases, diseases like Temporomandibular joint disorders (jaw joint disorders) can also result in an extreme toothache.
Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies
- The most widespread cause of tooth pain is a decay or cavity, also known as dental caries. Cavity is damage to the tooth due to progressive erosion caused by bacterial action. Mouth contains many types of bacteria. After meals, certain types of bacteria chemically break down sugar into acids. These acids erode the outer layers of the teeth, mainly made of enamel and dentin.
- The most common symptom of tooth cavity is spontaneous and lingering sensitivity when hot or chilled food comes in contact with the teeth. If decay is detected at an early stage, the damage caused can be repaired by just restoring proper dental hygiene. Topical fluorides help to facilitate mineralization. A remedy for such pain, easily available at home is garlic. It has a chemical called allicin which has antibiotic properties. It curbs the multiplication of bacteria. If the damage caused is more, your dentist would suggest a simple root canal treatment (RCT).
- Extreme pain after filling is a common occurrence in RCT patients because of a loose filling. Pain observed after root canal is also a common occurrence in many patients. In such cases, sharp pain is experienced while biting down food. Replacement of loose filling is required in this case. Have patience, and understand that this pain is not permanent. Medium dosage of pain-killers can prove helpful.
- Gum diseases are another common cause. One can notice inflammation of gums which can spread to the bones, that surround and support the teeth structure. In some cases, the bone may even get destroyed. In such cases, dentists employ a relatively new technique of tissue regeneration, like grafting the bone, thereby encouraging bone re-growth. Receding gums is another disorder that may be a cause of extreme pain in a tooth. Gum recession, which results in the exposure of small areas of teeth roots, can be treated by covering the exposed part.
- Fractured or cracked tooth syndrome is yet another cause of such a condition. It is a simple case of broken tooth or fracture caused by trauma to the teeth by accidents or injuries. Such cracks are too small to be detected on X-rays as some cracks are beneath the gums. Pain while biting is a common symptom of this ailment. Performing a root canal or crowning on the tooth are the two most common treatments to cure fractures.
- Pulp tissue inflammation is one of the less common causes of pain. Symptoms of pulp tissue inflammation are slight but constant ache near a tooth and biting sensitivity are often experienced. A visit to your dentist or an endodontist will be required in this case. An endodontic therapy may be required to eliminate the problem.
- Tooth abscess is yet another cause, that is a worsened stage of decay, resulting from neglect of decay. The surrounding bone of the abscessed tooth becomes infected. Re-treatment, which is a type of endodontic surgery may be needed to get out of this situation.
- Some experience slight pain and pressure in upper teeth and jaw. These symptoms are observed in those suffering from teeth grinding or Bruxism. There's no concrete cure for bruxism but if the factors causing it, like sleep disorders, smoking, stress, malocclusion, alcoholism, etc., are eliminated, it can be contained.
- Emergence of wisdom teeth is yet another cause of acute toothache. Wisdom teeth pain is common world wide as more often than not, these teeth emerge misaligned, causing overcrowding with the already present molars, pressurizing, and pushing them. Wisdom tooth extraction is the only remedy if extreme pain persists.
Often, the pain is neither caused by problems of tooth nor gums. Pain in teeth or gums has also been attributed to heart diseases (angina or cardiac arrest), ear infections, and Sinus infections or sinusitis. In many cases, heart patients have complained of tooth or jaw ache. Those with ear infections often complain of sharp pain in upper teeth and jaws, especially at the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Also, in some rare cases toothaches are caused by a neurological condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia.
All said, but a lot left to be done, tooth pain can easily be prevented by following a healthy diet, and maintaining dental hygiene practices. Here are some measures that provide toothache relief.
- Decreasing the amount of sugar intake in your diet.
- Using a fluoride-based toothpaste to brush your teeth, and visiting a dentist for a routine check-up, at least once every six months.
- Consuming food and drinks at normal temperatures.
- Avoiding aerated drinks and smoking.
- A diet rich in vitamin C is useful in maintaining oral health. It prevents decay, dental caries, and strengthens gums.