What causes a tooth ache?
A “toothache” is typically thought of by dentists to represent an issue detected by the nerve of the tooth. This issue is most commonly caused by bacterial tooth decay or dental caries. As the bacteria and their caustic acids and by-products draw closer to the dental pulp (the nerve, vascular, and lymph tissue in the center of each living tooth,) the pulp responds with varying degrees of inflammation which typically correlate to the distance from the decay to the nerve. This feeling can begin with a minor cold sensitivity and progress to a severe “sharp” and “stabbing” pain which can occur with no stimulus and wake the person in question from sleep with severe pain in its later stages.
Another fairly common cause of a tooth to “ache” is known as dentin hypersensitivity and this is often caused by hyper occlusion or, in layman’s terms, the tooth being too high. This pain from hyper occlusion can be felt by the ligaments which attach the tooth in question to the jawbone of the individual. When one hits down on a tooth too hard for a period of time these periodontal ligaments become stretched and ache often in a throbbing fashion. Hitting on a tooth too hard can also cause the tooth to become very sensitive to cold and sweets.
In order to accurately diagnose the cause of your toothache situation it is necessary to obtain an examination from a dental diagnostician who will run and series of tests. From your test results, x-rays, and the narrative that you convey to your Charleston emergency dentist, he/she will synthesize training and experience to come up with a sure diagnosis or possible explanations. Also he/she will tell you the estimated probability of each as well as options to correct the problem(s) or, in more complicated cases, ways to further prove/disprove each of the choices in the differential diagnosis. Back to Dental Library Page