Whether it’s a dull persistent pain or a sudden sharp ache, tooth pain is not something you can readily ignore. Nor should you. While a toothache can be caused by something fairly innocuous like accidentally biting into something hard, there are other far more serious causes for the pain, and some you may never see coming.

What causes a toothache? And what can you do to relieve the pain? Here’s what we know.

Top Causes for Tooth Pain

A toothache pain in or around the tooth. The pain you feel is caused when the nerves surrounding a tooth or in the root of a tooth become irritated. These nerves are some of the most sensitive in the body, so when they become irritated or inflamed, the pain can become quite severe.

Here are some of the most common reasons why you feel pain in your tooth and what you can do to help relieve some of the aches:

1. Tooth Decay 

Dental cavities are one of the most common causes for toothache. These start out as small holes in your tooth that grow deeper and wider if they are not caught and treated right away. When left untreated, the cavities can infect your tooth leading to tooth loss and worse. 

2. Gum Disease 

Poor oral hygiene can lead plaque to build up, which then causes the gums to bleed and swell over time. Because many people who suffer from gingivitis don’t feel any discomfort in the beginning, treatment is usually delayed until their gum disease becomes far more serious. 

Without prompt treatment, your mild form of gum disease may turn into periodontitis, a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and serious health complications.

3. Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge after all the adult teeth have come out. These normally push their way in between the ages of 17 and 21 and can be extremely painful. What causes a toothache here is that there is often no room for them inside the mouth, which can make them grow sideways or become impacted. 

A dental surgeon can remove the offending tooth through a short clinical procedure. 

4. Injury

An injury or trauma to your tooth can cause it to chip, fracture, or fall out. When this happens, book an emergency appointment with your dentist to have it fixed immediately. 

If your tooth fell out, put it in your mouth next to your cheek or preserve it in whole milk to keep it safe until your dental appointment comes. Don’t use regular water!

5. Misaligned Bite

A misaligned bite can bring discomfort and difficulty in chewing. And because your top and bottom teeth hit in an incorrect way, it can also bring pain. When your bite is uneven, the muscles in your jaw have to work hard to compensate, which can lead to tension and pain while chewing or talking.

There are many ways to address this issue, and your dentist may give you several options.

6. Teeth Grinding

Involuntary grinding of the teeth can deteriorate your teeth and apply extra stress on your jaw muscles. If you have this dental habit, your dental professional may give you a mouthguard to wear to protect your teeth while you sleep.

How To Relieve Tooth Pain

While you’re waiting for your scheduled dental appointment, you can help ease the pain by doing the following:

1. Saltwater Rinse. Mix a simple saltwater solution (½ tsp salt to a glass of warm water) and swish it around in your mouth. Saltwater acts as a disinfectant and will help reduce inflammation. Repeat the process every couple of hours if needed. 

2. Cold Compress. Hold an ice compress wrapped in a towel to the painful area. 

3. Clove oil. Clove oil is a natural antiseptic that can reduce both pain and inflammation. Dab a small amount of the oil on a cotton ball and apply it to the painful area. Or, you can also mix a few drops of the oil into a small glass of water and swish it around your mouth as a rinse.

Remember, prevention is better than cure! 

Practice good oral hygiene, drink lots of water every day, and avoid foods that are bad for your teeth. Don’t forget to book an appointment with your dental professional at least twice a year! Call us at 541-708-6288 for any of your oral concerns. 

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