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The medical term used to describe the aching pain of the teeth is odontalgia. It occurs as a result of swelling in the central part of the tooth also known as the pulp. It consists of several nerve endings which are highly sensitive towards pain. There are several causes that can lead to the inflammation of the pulp. Tooth or jaw problems like cavities, gum disease, infection of the pulp, trauma, cracked tooth, etc., are some of the most common causes of toothaches. After the extraction of one or more teeth, a condition called dry socket tends to develop, which may give toothache symptoms. Ear infection, oral cancer, and heart disease may sometimes cause toothaches.

Symptoms
The intensity of the pain is mild in the beginning. This pain tends to shoot up when we eat or drink something hot or cold. After a few seconds, once the hot or cold stimuli is removed, the pain usually goes down. As the area of inflammation grows bigger, the toothache turns more severe and often gives a throbbing sensation. It may extend to the cheek, ear, and the head. Other accompanying symptoms that suggest periodontal diseases are as follows:
  • Swelling around the affected tooth.
  • Swelling of the jaw.
  • Bleeding from the tooth, or if the gum has been infected, then discharge can occur from the entire area.
  • Soreness can be felt in the gum and jaw area and is tender to touch.
  • The pain often intensifies with additional pressure on the tooth. It can happen while chewing food or while lying down.
  • Sometimes, the tooth appears normal and it becomes difficult to identify the source of pain. In such cases, if you tap the tooth you can feel the tenderness.
If all the above mentioned symptoms are missing, and you still are suffering from pain, then it is likely that the source of the pain is something else. It could be due to a sinus infection, or ear and throat infection. If you are unable to open your mouth for a large bite or yawning, then it can be due to injury to the joint that attaches the jaw and the skull, also called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Sometimes, chest pain due to angina may travel through the nerves and can be felt in the jaw area.

Treatment
Treatment usually depends on the underlying cause of the problem. First, doctors prescribe pain killers and antibiotics to bring down the pain and swelling. In certain cases, they may administer injections around the tooth to provide relief from the pain. This is followed by other dental treatments. For a tooth decay, dentists remove the decayed part of the tooth and fill it up using silver amalgam or composite resin. If loose and broken fillings are found to be the cause, then newly formed decay and broken fillings are cleared and a new filling is placed. When damage in the pulp is found then root canal treatment is carried out which involves removal of the decayed pulp, filling up the space with a paste and covering the tooth with a crown. Thus the tooth is sealed up and is in a well protected condition. If the condition of the tooth is such that it cannot be treated with all these methods then it will have to be extracted. When the toothache is related to anything other than dental health then your dentist will refer you to other specialists.

You can avoid toothache symptoms to a great extent by following a proper dental care regime. Proper brushing of teeth using a soft brush is a must in order to remove food particles that get stuck in between the teeth. Brush your gums daily to make them healthy. Get your teeth cleaned by your dentist twice a year. This will ensure you protection from both decay as well as any kind of gum disease.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.