Toothaches can be agonizing, robbing you of your ability to chew and even causing headaches. Sharp, persistent toothaches should warrant an immediate dental appointment, as tooth pain usually indicates a more serious underlying dental issue. In most cases, ignoring a toothache could lead to the advancement of conditions such as gum disease and tooth decay, which could lead to more severe dental complications such as tooth loss and root infections. Read on to learn several reasons why you should never ignore a toothache.
It could point to gum disease
When food particles are allowed to sit on the gums for long periods of time, they form a sticky film of bacteria that gradually damages your tooth enamel and gum lining. If left untreated, the condition will usually cause your gums to recede and eventually exposes part of the tooth root.
Essentially, you will start experiencing gum and tooth pain in the advanced stages of the disease, which is why regular dental visits are encouraged to help catch the condition before it progresses and causes bone loss or possible tooth loss. If you experience tooth pain accompanied by swollen gums that are bluish-red instead of a normal pink, the pain may be as a result of advanced gum disease.
Dentists can reverse the condition using professional dental cleaning, where tartar in the gum pockets is washed off to halt the gum infection. This should also stop the attack on the tooth enamel and result in reduced tooth pain.
It could be tooth decay
Another common cause of toothache is severe decay on tooth enamel. The process essentially begins when plaque forms on the teeth due to ineffective brushing, causing bacteria to constantly produce dissolving acid that attacks the hard enamel.
The dissolving process often causes white spots on the teeth, which you can look out for to alert you for any possible decay. If allowed to progress, the decay erodes your teeth until painful cavities form. The excruciating pain results from the infection of the inner tooth, leading to bleeding and inflammation.
Typically, the best way to halt the pain is to have a root canal, which clears out dead and damaged pulp and seals your teeth with crowns. However, if the infection has already advanced deep into the inner tooth and into the jaw, your dentist may have to extract the affected tooth completely so as to halt the decay.
If you are experiencing toothaches that persist for more than a few hours, your best bet is to seek early treatment so as to avoid possible additional complications. For more information, contact a local family dentist, such as Sarah M. LYNCH DMD.Share