A toothache does not always mean you have a cavity. Cavities are just one possible cause of tooth pain. There are many potential reasons for a toothache, and a visit to your dentist will provide you an answer. Your dentist will consider all possible reasons before deciding what to do next. When speaking with your dentist, make sure you explain what might have caused your sudden toothache. This information will assist in identifying the problem.
What Causes Cavities?
By the time you feel pain with a cavity, there is already considerable damage to the tooth. A cavity is a hole in the tooth enamel caused by acid from bacteria. For a cavity to be the cause of a toothache, the cavity must be deep enough to expose the tooth’s nerves. A superficial cavity won’t cause pain.
Another cause of pain may be the result of a damaged filling. With a cavity, your dentist will clean out any decay and bacteria, then seal the hole with a dental filling. If the filling fails, bacteria can get into the tooth, leading to more decay or infection.
Tooth Pain from an Abscess
Decay that makes its way past the tooth enamel and underlying dentin, may offer bacteria access to the tooth’s root and nerves. The bacteria causes an infection which leads to an abscess, a pocket of pus in the root of the tooth, or soft tissue around it.
An abscess can also form in a chipped or broken tooth. Any opening in the enamel may allow bacteria access to the inner tooth. This could allow an abscess to form, resulting in tooth pain.
A toothache from an abscess will likely be very painful. If this occurs, you may also notice swelling in the face and throat.
Gum Disease and Toothaches
What might feel like a toothache could actually be periodontal disease, an issue relating to the soft tissue surrounding the tooth. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, causes inflammation in the soft tissue around your teeth. In the early stages, the gum may swell up and bleed. Sores may form in the tissue, and if left unchecked may result in an infection.
It could be that your toothache has nothing to do with your dental health. Examples of such issues include:
- Sinus infection
- Cluster headache
- Heart attack
- Viral infection
- Nerve disease
- Drug use
- B-12 deficiency
Irrespective of why you think you may have a toothache, it’s important to see the dentist as soon as possible. It takes a professional to evaluate your symptoms and determine the causes of toothaches, as well as corresponding hot or cold tooth sensitivity.
Contact Columbia Smiles Today
If you are near Howard County, MD, give Columbia Smiles a call. Columbia Smiles has been serving the residents of Howard County for over 35 years. Our dentists have the training to evaluate your dental health and determine the cause of your tooth pain. Based on what is going on, we can fix the problem.
Columbus Smiles is a family practice that offers regular dental exams and cleanings along with key dental services such as:
- General Dentistry
- Diagnostic Dentistry
- Cosmetic Dentistry
If you experience anxiety leading up to a visit to the dentist, our office offers a gentle and welcoming environment.
If you are experiencing a toothache, please do not wait. Give our office a call at 410.690.4855. Columbus Smiles can help.