Toothache usually refers to pain around the teeth or jaws. In most instances, toothaches are caused by tooth or jaw problems, such as a dental cavity, a cracked tooth, an exposed tooth root, gum disease, disease of the jaw joint (temporo- mandibular joint), or spasms of the muscles used for chewing. The severity of a toothache can range from chronic and mild to sharp and excruciating. The pain may be aggravated by chewing or by cold or heat.
Causes of toothache
Common dental causes of toothache include dental cavities, dental abscess, gum disease, irritation of the tooth root, cracked tooth syndrome, temporomandibular disease, impaction, and eruption.
Dental cavities (caries) are holes in the two outer layers of a tooth called the enamel and the dentin. The enamel is the outermost white hard surface and the dentin is the yellow layer just beneath the enamel. Both layers serve to protect the inner living tooth tissue called the pulp, where blood vessels and nerves reside. Certain bacteria in the mouth convert simple sugars into acid. The acid softens and (along with saliva) dissolves the enamel and dentin, creating cavities.
Gum disease refers to inflammation of the soft tissue (gingiva) and abnormal loss of bone that surrounds the teeth and holds them in place. Gum disease is caused by toxins secreted by bacteria in “plaque” that accumulate over time along the gum line. This plaque is a mixture of food, saliva, and bacteria. Early symptoms of gum disease include gum bleeding without pain.
Toothache At A Glance
- The most common cause of a toothache is a dental cavity.
- The second most common cause of toothache is gum disease.
A toothache can be caused by a problem that does not originate from a tooth or the jaw.
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