The Toothache Spectrum
Sometimes a toothache is just a nuisance that can be easily ignored and may have a quick fix. Sensitivity to different temperatures or getting a piece of candy stuck in an area can cause acute but temporary pain. Other times the pain is debilitating, lasting and needs immediate attention.
An exposed root can be the nemesis of ice cream or an ice cube. It will feel like the end of the world is starting in one specific place in your mouth but the looming apocalypse subsides and you can go about your life. Where it can get more complicated is when there is an infection or inflammation inside the tooth.
Who Is At Risk For a Toothache?
“I’m going to shock you so, I hope you’re sitting down. You are at a higher risk if you don’t BRUSH, FLOSS and get REGULAR CHECKUPS. Even those who are diligent about this can end up with a toothache.”
– Dr. Gurjot Bedi, Eagle Creek Village Dental
Here are the standard risk factors:
- Receding gums which expose tooth roots
- Tooth decay
- Tooth trauma from
- Existing deep fillings or crowns
- Routine dental procedures
- Sports (Your dentist can make you a mouth guard to mitigate damage)
- Nighttime tooth grinding (see point above)
- Bite problems (how your teeth come together when you chew, bite or are at rest)
But I Don’t Want a Toothache?!
Your first step is not to ignore it and make an appointment with your dentist. There are a few cases where the problem resolves itself, but there are risks involved if you leave it to long. If you decide it’s not a big deal you may suffer from more serious health risks. This can include:
- Increased pain and infection requiring a root canal treatment or extraction
- Continued sensitivity which makes enjoying food uncomfortable
- Stress on the tooth causing the tooth to fracture
Here are a few suggestions you might receive from your dentist:
- Address bit problems
- Wear a nightguard if the night time tooth grinding is the culprit
- Address tooth decay
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports
- Cover exposed tooth roots with gum grafts or dental restorations
- Treat teeth with flouride and home care aids with decrease root sensitivity