A toothache can ruin your day. Determining the source of your toothache is paramount to fast treatment. Keep reading to learn more about the underlying causes of tooth pain from Lone Peak Dental, your local family dental service in Cedar Hills, UT.
The most common source of tooth pain is called a cavity. A cavity is the result of poor eating and brushing habits. Bacteria inside your mouth turns food particles left on the tooth into acid. This acid combines with food debris and saliva to form plaque on the surface of your teeth. Slowly, the acid eats away at the protective enamel coating surrounding your teeth. The holes and valleys left by the acid are called cavities. If left untreated, a cavity can burrow deep into the tooth, causing further damage and pain. If you’ve had a cavity filled, it's still possible to experience tooth pain if the filling material falls out. An exposed filling will expose your tooth to food debris as well as hot and cold temperature fluctuations that can cause pain.
Another common cause of tooth pain stems from the root of the tooth. An abscess is a bubble of pus and blood surrounding the root that attaches the tooth to the gum. An abscess is caused by deep cavities, tooth decay, periodontal disease, or cracked teeth. There are two types of abscesses: periapical and periodontal. Periapical abscesses form along the root while periodontal abscesses affect the bone. An abscess is a serious infection with several symptoms including tooth pain, swelling at the gums, bad taste, jaw pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and trouble swallowing. Sometimes an abscess will manifest on the surface of your gum. It will look similar to a large pimple and it will be filled with pus, a sign of infection. Rinsing with salt water may help relieve your symptoms temporarily until you can see your dentist.
Tooth pain can also be the result of periodontitis or gum disease. Gingivitis is usually a precursor to periodontitis, but not always. As plaque builds up on your teeth along the gum lines, the gums will become inflamed and recede. As the gums pull away from your teeth, the inner gum is exposed to harmful bacteria that can cause infection, pain, and tooth loss. The symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, gaps between the teeth, tooth loss, pain, and swelling. Gum disease can take several months to manifest; however, other factors like hormonal changes, tobacco use, and some cancer medication can increase your risks.
As with most medical conditions, prevention is the best medicine. Developing a thorough brushing and flossing routine can significantly reduce your chances of developing gum disease, cavities, and tooth pain. Regular check-ups and fluoride treatments at your dentist's office can also help identify and treat the early signs of gum disease and cavities that cause tooth pain. Advanced treatments include fillings, root canals, and artificial tooth replacement. If you have a toothache, it’s important to consult your local dentist as soon as possible to avoid progressive complications. For general family dentistry in Cedar Hills, UT, schedule an appointment today with Lone Peak Dentists.