Common causes of tooth pain

Oral pain can happen to anyone at any age, and occurs for a wide variety of reasons. While some causes of oral pain are mild in scope, others can cause serious, almost unbearable pain. While many types of oral pain will respond to medications, these drugs will not treat the cause of the pain. Though oral pains are caused by very different problems, they all share one aspect in common: Every tooth ache needs to be investigated by your dentist as soon as possible in order to treat the cause of the pain and protect smiles from further permanent harm.

One of the most common causes of tooth aches is tooth decay or dental caries. A cavity occurs when acid caused by bacterial growth eats through the enamel, or hard covering of the tooth. This bacteria grows readily in plaque, a sticky substance that sits on the surfaces of teeth.  It is essential to clean this plaque away from the surfaces of the teeth by tooth brushing and the proper use of dental floss.

Cavities can occur to patients of all ages, however, regardless of how healthy your diet may be or how often you brush or floss your teeth. While some cavities may be asymptomatic, some cause mild pain or are sensitive to hot, cold or sweet. While good oral hygiene techniques are very beneficial in avoiding decay, once decay occurs it must be treated by your dentist to prevent further damage.  In order to treat the cavity, your dentist will remove the affected tooth structure and will restore the tooth. Treatment for cavities ranges depending upon severity and the amount of tooth structure that has been affected, and can include dental fillings, inlays, onlays, as well as dental crowns.

Another common cause of dental pain is an erupting, unerupted or impacted wisdom tooth. These are the third molars which tend to develop in the late teen years and will erupt, when there is sufficient room in the jaw, between the ages of 17 and 21.  When there is insufficient room for these teeth to erupt, they are called impacted wisdom teeth.  These teeth may often cause jaw pain and it is generally recommended that these unerupted wisdom teeth be removed to avoid future complications and pain.

When dental caries or trauma causes irreversible damage to the nerve of a tooth and the tooth becomes infected, severe pain may ensue.  This pain may become unbearable. An infected dental nerve will require the tooth to be extracted of for root canal therapy to be performed. This procedure requires careful planning through digital x-ray and the use of specialized files or rotary tools in order to effectively remove infected matter from the root canal. Once completely cleaned, the root canal is filled with an inert substance known as gutta percha which when combined with a sealer will seal the canal off from further bacterial infection. The tooth may then be restored with a filling or a post and crown.