The youngest of children to the most senior of adults can experience toothaches. With babies, of course, the source of the discomfort is teething. With adults, the reasons for toothaches can be numerous, and can even relate to areas of the body outside the mouth. Common sense and medical advice says to seek dental attention for any toothache discomfort, because it is important to preserve the teeth but also to investigate problems that masquerade as dental issues.
The everyday dental cavity is caused by the build up of bacteria, food and acids which attack tooth enamel. When neglected, dental plaque leads to gum disease in varying degrees and also tooth decay. The symptoms of a cavity include:
- tooth sensitivity to heat and cold as when drinking an iced beverage
- a visible hole in the tooth
- surface staining
- pain or tenderness that is sharp or throbbing
Your dentist can readily probe the area in question and do x-rays if necessary to explore the source of discomfort and confirm or rule out a cavity. Cavities should not be ignored because they can ultimately destroy the tooth and cause serious infections called dental abscesses. Abscesses can require medical treatment with antibiotics to step the spread of toxins to other areas of the body.
In addition, individuals can have toothaches because a tooth is chipped, cracked or broken or because a wisdom tooth is impacted. Wisdom teeth are those back most molars which erupt in teens and young adults. When a wisdom tooth becomes impacted--that is, does not break through the bone and gums properly - it can result in a very painful toothache.
Toothaches May Indicate Problems Elsewhere
Your dentist can tell if a toothache is a sign of something more concerning outside of dental health. For instance, sinusitis, or sinus infection, can cause the roots of the upper teeth to hurt simply because they are close to the irritated, swollen sinus cavity.
Also, sometimes tooth pain can be a symptom of serious heart and lung conditions such as:
- lung cancer
- defect in the aorta, the major artery which moves oxygenated blood through out the body
- pericarditis, an infection of the thin membrane which surrounds the heart
Physicians and dentists agree that serious lung and heart issues stimulate body's vagus nerve which in turn refers pain from the chest to the face and in particular to the teeth and jaw. This type of toothache is especially serious and teaches the lesson that no tooth pain or discomfort should be neglected.
A great source of knowledgeable, compassionate and technically astute dental care is American Dental in Gainesville, Virginia. Steve Pleickhardt DDS and his professional staff have the latest diagnostic and treatment tools to pinpoint the source of your toothache and resolve it correctly. Don't delay. Call Dr. Pleickhardt's office today for an appointment: 703-753-6695.