As one of the most common symptoms of dental trouble, a toothache can mean anything from a slight feeling of discomfort to a painful dental emergency. While their possible causes are as diverse as their severities, most toothaches share one thing in the common—the potential to become exponentially worse if not addressed promptly. If your tooth hurts, then we advise scheduling a dental appointment as soon as possible to relieve the ache and save your tooth.
A Toothache is a Warning
- Perhaps the most common reason behind sensitive, aching teeth is weak or compromised tooth enamel, which is a precursor to tooth decay and cavities. Enamel, the outer layer of your teeth, is what usually blocks sensations from reaching your tooth’s more sensitive main structure (dentin) or the nerves at its center. When it’s weak, your teeth feel more, and eventually, the ache will grow more serious as a cavity develops.
- Even when tooth enamel remains strong and healthy, however, your tooth might still begin to ache if the gum tissues around it recede and expose the tooth’s root. The root connects to the nerves in the tooth’s pulp, and since it is not coated in enamel, an exposed root can send sensory information directly to these nerves. Gum recession is often a sign of developing gum disease, and if left untreated, the toothache can also be accompanied by bleeding, swollen, tender gum tissues.
- Sudden impact is not the only way in which your teeth can become damaged and sensitive. If you habitually grind them, a condition known as bruxism, then the continuous pressure and friction can wear down your teeth’s surfaces, causing them to hurt when you bite and chew.