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There are many different causes for toothache. They can be categorized into two forms of short lasting pains or long lasting pains.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF SHORT LASTING TOOTHACHE?
When we are taking about short lasting toothache, we are talking about a discomfort or pain that last in the matters of few seconds. They are transient and quickly disappear with no persistence of continuity. Some more common example of these types of pain can be listed as;
1 Sensitivity to cold or touch like when brushing teeth. You can get a short sharp discomfort that as soon as the cause of it is removed, the discomfort stops.
2 Cracked tooth or cusps of the teeth. A short sharp pain on chewing that can be severe but as soon as you stop biting, the pain stops..
3 Pain or sensitivity due to early stages of decay in a tooth. Usually hot or cold and sweets can start the sensation. This is also referred to as reversible pulpitis. In these cases decay and infection has not yet reached the nerve house of the tooth (pulp) and can be fixed by removing the decay and placing a filling.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF LONG LASTING AND MORE SEVERE TOOTHACHES?
The list is almost endless. Some of the most common causes can be listed as;
1 When decay has reached the nerve house of a tooth, known as the pulp, it can cause an acute throbbing pain with varying intensity that can interrupt sleep. This is because infection causes inflammation and hence swelling of the pulp and severe pain. To relieve the pain only two options are available;
A To open and drain the tooth, known as pulp extirpation which is part of root canal treatment.
B Consider removing the tooth by extracting it. It is always advisable to save a tooth that is possible to restore. Extraction is advisable when it is not possible to restore the tooth predictably.
2 Pain as the result of a chronic infection. Sometimes after acute pain phase, if not treated, eventually the pulp of the tooth loses its vitality and becomes necrotic. The infection can then further travel down and spread to the jaw bone around the root of the tooth resulting in formation of an abscess or a cyst in the jaw bone. The solution for this type of infections are root canal treatments, if possible, or extraction.
3 Pain associated with partially erupted or impacted wisdom teeth. In many cases there is not enough space in the jaw bone to accommodate the wisdom teeth. They can be impacted against another tooth or partially go through the gum. Build up of food derbies and bacteria under the gum can cause infection and inflammation around the tooth, otherwise known as pericoronitis. If this keeps happening and repeating, then it may be advisable to remove the wisdom tooth. Also the impacted wisdom teeth have the potential of damaging the teeth next to them or cause crowding by pushing the teeth in front forward. It is advisable to have these teeth removed subject to clinical assessment by the professionals.
4 Severe pain that usually starts few days after extraction of a tooth, otherwise known as Dry Socket. This is when the socket of the tooth after extraction develops infection. Antibiotics have no effect on this type of pain and only use of powerful antiseptics locally can ease the pain. It is more often seen with difficult extraction specially if surgery has been involved. Smoking soon after extraction is a big contributing factor tot he development of Dry Socket after extraction and should be avoided for few days at least. Healing takes time.
CAUSES OF BLEEDING GUMS AND PAINFUL GUM
Again there are numerous possibilities for gum pain. Some of the more common causes can be listed as;
1 Bleeding gum as the result of gingivitis. This is due to the build up of plaque on the teeth. After a hygiene visit, the bleeding on the gum stops as long as effective oral hygiene is maintained.
2 Pain and swelling of the gum due to periodontal disease. In periodontal disease there is an irreversible loss of bone loss around the root of the teeth that gradually causes a tooth getting loose or wobbly. The loss of bone creates what is know as pockets, allowing the collection of bacteria and plaque or calculus. This can result in formation of abscesses or a cysts around the root of teeth.
3 Another form of severe gum pain is due to formation of ulcers on the gum and other part of the mouth. They are usually stress related and they are more common when one feels run down. It needs assessment by professional and local treatment. They are expected to heal within 3 weeks. If not need further assessment.
4 Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gum condition (ANUG) is another form of gum condition that can causes severe pain. It is usually seen in the front of the mouth and causes irreversible damage and loss of the papillae (the small triangular shaped gum that fills the spaces between the teeth). It is very much stress related and is more common in people that have a lot of plaque and calculus build ups and smoke. The loss of the gum results in formation of a space between the teeth, known as black triangles, and is irreversible. Urgent assessment and treatment is needed by the professionals.
Here we have listed some the most common causes of toothache and gum aches. This is not a comprehensive list and in all cases assessment by Dental professionals are needed for a correct diagnosis.