Dentists And Toothaches
When you visit the dentist with a toothache, you might assume that you have a cavity. Yet most dentists will tell you that this is just one of many causes of pain in your mouth. Here is what you should know about toothaches to prepare yourself for a visit to the dentist.
Toothaches can occur either because of problems in the teeth or because of problems in the jaw. Sometimes it can even be both. While some toothaches will go away on their own, they always indicate something is going on in your mouth. It is always best to have it checked out before problems escalate and become even more expensive to fix.
Cavities are a very common cause of a toothache, and one that will not go away without a visit to the doctor for a filling. A cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by bacteria and acid that dissolves the top two layers, the enamel and the dentin. If these get deep enough, they can reach the living pulp of the tooth, which will be irritated by the bacteria and acids of the mouth, casing a toothache. Sometimes certain foods, including sweets or hot foods, can irritate this type of toothache.
Treatment for cavities varies depending on how deep the hole is. Dentists use fillings to treat shallow cavities, while deeper ones may need a crown or even a root canal. If the cavity is left untreated long enough for the tooth to become infected, it can cause the tooth to need to be pulled.
Gum disease can also cause a toothache. Some individuals can pinpoint the pain as coming from their gums, while others cannot. Gum disease occurs when the tissue surrounding the teeth becomes inflamed, usually because of a buildup of plaque along the gum line. Plaque is made up of food, bacteria, and saliva. If left untreated, gum disease can cause bone loss on the bones that hold the teeth in place, leading to tooth loss. Dentists treat gum disease through root planning procedures, which remove the plaque and tartar underneath the gum line. This may also require the removal of some of the inflamed gum tissue.
Tooth Root Exposure
Over time, portions of the teeth that are normally covered by the gums can become exposed as the gum line recedes. This can lead to sensitivity when these areas are touched, especially by cold or sugary foods. The best way to treat this is to prevent further receding of the gums and use topical pain relievers or toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Cracked or Broken Teeth
A toothache that comes on suddenly or after a traumatic injury may be caused by a cracked or broken tooth. Dentists can take precautions to fix these teeth, or they may need to be pulled and replaced with an artificial tooth. Leaving a cracked or broken tooth untreated could lead to more pain and further breakage later on, so always see your dentist if you suspect this might be the problem causing your toothache.
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