Toothache Quincy MA
Even if we practice good dental hygiene, chances are most of us will experience a toothache at some point. How do you know when the pain is a sign of something serious? Here are a few common causes of toothache and the treatment you can expect for each.
Cavities, the most common cause of toothache, are created when food collects on the teeth and the bacteria in the mouth turns it into acid. This acid dissolves the enamel on the teeth. If you have a cavity, it can be treated by removing the decayed part of the tooth and inserting a filling. In extreme cases, the tooth may need to be removed. Cavities can cause toothaches, especially after eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold.
An abscessed tooth is an infection within or around the root of the tooth, which occurs when tooth decay is left untreated. It may also be caused by a broken tooth or gingivitis. These can erode the tooth enamel, allowing bacteria to enter and infect the center of the tooth, or the “pulp.” A continuous, severe toothache may signal an abscessed tooth. Other symptoms can include fever, pain while chewing, a bitter taste in the mouth, foul-smelling breath, swollen neck or jaw, or open sores on the gums.
If you have an abscess, it may need to be drained through a root canal, where an endodontist removes the infected material within the tooth and fill the root canals. A dentist will then place a crown on the tooth. Alternatively, the tooth may need to be removed so that the abscess can drain through the socket, or an incision might be made into the gum.
Teeth can develop fractures through tooth grinding, mouth injuries, complications from fillings or root canals, or just natural wear. A tooth fracture may even be invisible to the naked eye. The level of pain can vary based on the depth of the fracture, but pain is often triggered during chewing and eating hot or cold foods.
Treatment for a cracked tooth also depends on the extent of the damage to the tooth. If the crack is shallow and affects only the enamel, a filling may solve the problem. For deeper cracks, a crown may be necessary. If a crack has reached all the way to the center of the tooth (the pulp), endodontic treatment may be required. In extreme cases, the fractured tooth may need to be extracted to relieve the pain.
Tooth pain immediately after getting a filling is common and usually subsides after a few days. However, if pain is extreme, lasts several weeks, or appears long after your treatment, you may have a more serious problem. Constant wear and tear on fillings can cause them to crack or deteriorate, which exposes the tooth underneath to additional decay and can cause pain.
If you have a damaged filling and the decay of the tooth is extreme, your dentist may determine that the filling needs to be replaced with a crown.
If you have red, swollen gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss, it might be gingivitis (gum disease). When plaque and tartar collect on the teeth and aren’t removed, they can irritate the gums, causing gingivitis. Other factors, such as smoking or diabetes, can also increase your chances of gingivitis.
After plaque and tartar are removed by a professional dental cleaning, you can often get rid of gingivitis simply by habitually brushing and flossing after every meal.
What should I do?
If you suspect any of the above conditions are causing your toothache, schedule an appointment with your Quincy dentist, Dr. Alaa Alwazzan, right away. In the meantime, you can alleviate pain with an over-the-counter painkiller or by avoiding foods that trigger pain, such as very hot, cold, or hard-to-chew foods.