A sudden tooth pain, characterized by a feeling of soreness and throbbing, warrants the attention of a dentist. A study by the Canadian Dental Association shows that approximately 1 in 10 Canadians may have suffered from oral pain in the last 12 months, and it is also more prevalent among adolescents and adults than in children.
While sudden toothache or pain seems common and not too serious, ignoring the pain can lead to severe consequences. Depending on the cause, there can be 2 rounds of pain: initial and recurring. If you can tolerate it, the initial pain in your tooth will eventually fade. It might seem like the problem has resolved itself until the pain strikes again after some time.
What Causes Random or Sudden Tooth Pain?
To avoid extreme, recurring pain, it is important that you are aware of what causes toothache. It helps to understand what might be causing the discomfort, so you’ll know what to do when it happens and when to seek help.
Here are 10 common causes of toothache:
Sometimes sudden tooth pain can be a result of your teeth’s exposure to extreme heat or cold. Teeth sensitivity develops when your tooth enamel is worn out, exposing the nerves in your teeth. This means that cold air, hot liquid, or certain foods can act as a stimulus if they come in contact with your teeth, triggering a sudden flash of pain.
Gums are the pink layers of tissue that cover the bone and the roots of your tooth, protecting the nerve endings. As you grow older, however, gum tissues may start to wear and recede. The recession will leave the roots exposed and vulnerable to diseases and infections. If you’ve been experiencing sudden pain in your tooth lately, gum recession could be the reason.
Gum diseases or infections, also known as periodontal disease, affects a number of people worldwide. Specifically, gingivitis, or the inflammation of your gums, leads to swelling and redness. If left untreated, the infection could lead to bone loss and further deterioration. This leaves more spaces for bacteria and plaque to grow, making your teeth sensitive and painful when exposed, touched, or chewed on.
One of the most prevalent reasons for toothache is tooth decay or cavity. A common culprit of tooth decay is the layers of bacteria on your teeth that feed on sugars and starches from the food you eat. This produces acid, which eventually erodes the enamel and develops weak areas and holes. Generally, cavities are painless until it spreads inwards and reaches your nerve endings.
About 12% of people have experienced dentin hypersensitivity. Enamel or dentin erosion can be caused by a highly acidic diet, tooth brushing too hard, and other factors. The enamel coats and protects your teeth. So, when it is eroded and not replaced, you may feel a stabbing pain when you eat certain foods.
6.Cracked Tooth or Crown
A cracked or chipped tooth can also expose nerve endings, develop deep cavities, and eventually lead to tooth loss. Cracks in your tooth can be because of the following:
- Pressure from teeth grinding
- Weakened integrity of the tooth
- Chewing or biting hard foods
- Blow to the mount, like an accident, sports injury, or fistfight
The cracks and chipping can be tiny so they may be nearly impossible to see until it produces temperature sensitivity or pain when chewing or biting. Swelling of the gum can also be experienced, especially if the crack extends into your gum line.
Sinusitis is a medical term for the inflammation of the sinuses, which are small, air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead. Pain in your teeth and jaw is a symptom of sinus infection. When your sinuses are swollen it can compress and put pressure on your jaw and your teeth. Next time you encounter a toothache while having sinusitis, don’t fret. The pain will go away as soon as your sinusitis is treated.
8.Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching
Teeth grinding or bruxism is a typical habit for people who are stressed and anxious. The grinding and clenching also tend to occur during sleep. Grinding or “bruxing” will ultimately wear down the tooth enamel, damaging and breaking the teeth and causing widespread pain.
If you have recently undergone a dental procedure that involves filling or drilling, this can be the culprit why you’re having sudden tooth pain. Tooth work can temporarily make the nerve endings in your teeth extra sensitive. Fortunately, this normally only lasts up to 2 weeks.
10.Teeth Bleaching Products
There are certain products that can heighten your susceptibility to tooth sensitivity and tooth pain, including whitening strips, bleaching gels, and undergoing a teeth-whitening procedure. Tooth pain caused by bleaching is often temporary and will subside once you stop using the products. However, it pays to be wary of bleaching and its multiple side effects. If done poorly, it can cause enamel damage and gum irritation. Damage to the enamel is permanent and irreversible, so be careful with what you put in your mouth.
When Should You Worry About Tooth Pain?
Tooth pain can happen for a variety of reasons; it’s impossible to diagnose the cause based on a few symptoms alone. If you have been having toothache symptoms when they never were before, it is best that you see a dentist as soon as possible.
While many of the causes are temporary, some types of tooth pain may need immediate treatment. In rare cases like infections, this can result in other serious health issues if brushed aside.
Importantly, seek treatment for the tooth pain if you experience the following:
- Toothache lasting for more than 48 hours
- A recurring sharp and throbbing pain
- Migraine or headache that extends your teeth
- Fever that coincides with your toothache
How Can I Stop My Teeth from Hurting Suddenly?
Depending on the diagnosis your dentist may prescribe the following treatment:
Your dentist may provide medicine for tooth pain. For temporary causes, like after a dental procedure, you may only need to take pain relief medications. However, if the reason for the tooth pain is either abscess, gingivitis, or periodontitis, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
- Oral Rinses and Devices
Your dentist may also treat infection and prevent tooth decay and sensitivity with oral rinses and topical fluoride treatments. Likewise, oral devices, such as mouthguards at night time, will help address bruxism.
- Dental Procedures
Sometimes, a dental procedure will be required to treat the problem. For instance, tooth decay and cavity formation will need restorative therapy, which includes removal of the decay and filling the removed area. On the other hand, cracked or fractured teeth at risk of infection may need extraction.
- Good Oral Hygiene
Most of the causes of tooth pain, such as cavities and tooth sensitivity, arise from poor oral health and, therefore, avoidable. All you need is to commit to a good oral regimen to prevent these problems from occurring.
- Brush your teeth gently and floss daily
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months
- Avoid smoking
- Eat a well-balanced diet and minimize sugar-rich food and drinks
- Undergo regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
Toothache causes extreme inconvenience to your daily lives. Fortunately, these can easily be prevented with proper awareness and good oral hygiene.
Don’t let sudden tooth pain ruin your day. Give your teeth some tender loving care; turn to a trusted dentist in Etobicoke. Get in touch with Dr. Mark Rhody Dentistry, and let us help you maintain excellent oral health. Call us at (416) 231-4281 now.