What Does Your Niggling Toothache Mean?

Dental pain can be severe or mild but shouldn’t be ignored. Our Wickford team takes a look at the possible causes

Teeth painIt is likely that most of us will have had some degree of pain caused by a toothache at some time in our lives. If you have a severe toothache, it is unlikely that you will forget it in a hurry. Despite the small area that it affects, a painful toothache can take over our lives, making it almost impossible to function beyond the essentials.

Naturally, when this level of pain is felt, most people will contact Cygnet Dental Practice to make an appointment as soon as possible. Where the toothache is less severe though, some may delay doing this.

Perhaps there is something inherent in human nature that makes us believe that things will change without intervention. Whilst this can be true of some minor medical issues, as we allow some viruses to run their course and let our bodies fight it off for example, this is not true when it comes to most of the causes of tooth pain. There are rare occasions where a piece of grain or similar becomes wedged between the tooth and gum which may cause discomfort which then goes as it gets dislodged, but this is unlikely to be the case the vast majority of the time.

What to do about a minor toothache

If you are experiencing a minor ‘niggle’ or a mild throbbing sensation in a tooth, but one that is causing no more than a little inconvenience, you might be tempted to leave it, intending to mention it to the dentist at your next routine appointment. Unless this is very close, this is an unwise approach. In most cases, a toothache will be caused by tooth decay, a problem that will become progressively worse as time passes. Whilst there may be situations where it is acceptable to put off seeking treatment, such as coming towards the end of a holiday abroad when you might wish to see your own dentist on your return, you should always contact our Wickford dentist for advice. In most cases, we will be able to arrange a prompt appointment to have the tooth examined and any treatment carried out.

Possible causes of toothache

As mentioned above, tooth decay is one of the most common reasons for dental pain. It usually occurs when the enamel of our teeth is compromised, allowing bacteria to enter; starting the decaying process. Whilst tooth decay can be painful, the situation can become worse if the bacteria enters the root canals of the tooth causing a root canal infection. This can lead to an abscess which can be extremely painful indeed.

Other things that might cause noticeable discomfort are gum disease, especially where this causes pain when eating, and tooth sensitivity, caused by damage or erosion to the tooth enamel, exposing the nerves more easily to the extremes of hot and cold.

Early intervention

Because tooth decay is progressive, it is important to deal with the problem as soon as possible. The longer it is left, the more extensive the decay will become. The most obvious problem with leaving it is that when you do have it treated, what might have been a small filling to fill the cavity, may instead mean that more of the natural tooth may need to be removed to fill a larger one. In some situations, this will lead to a weaker tooth that offers less strength when eating and may be more susceptible to breaking or other damage, over time.

As noted above, tooth decay, if left, can also result in an infection of the root canals, leaving the only available options of a root canal procedure or, where the prognosis is very poor, possibly a tooth extraction and replacement with a dental implant or dentures. Naturally, this is best avoided and is why we recommend that if you are experiencing any kind of discomfort, you contact us to make an appointment to have the problem checked by one of our friendly local team.

Sinus congestion

It is worth mentioning one cause of toothache which is not dental related and can be caused by congested sinuses, often around the time that you are infected with a cold or flu, or similar. This can lead to a dull ache and a sensation of pressure on your teeth. If your teeth feel this way and you have a cold etc, some relief might be obtained by using a decongestant that your chemist may be able to recommend. If this fails to offer relief after a few days though, do give us a call so that we can check the teeth in question.

Whether you are experiencing minor or more significant pain, please don’t delay seeking treatment. We do our best to see patients who are in pain as soon as possible and the sooner you call us, the sooner you will find relief from the discomfort. You can call the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078 and we’ll be pleased to assist.