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5 Common Causes of a Toothache

5 Common Causes of a Toothache

Anyone who has ever suffered from a toothache knows how quickly mouth pain throws your routine into disarray. Toothaches can come on suddenly and be so severe that they disrupt your ability to function. In Las Vegas, renowned dentist Dr. Doug Sandquist frequently helps patients address and treat their toothache issues with short and long-term plans for optimal outcomes.

According to Dr. Sandquist, understanding the common causes of toothaches can help prevention, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Here are five common reasons for toothaches and how they can impact oral health.

1. Dental Decay

The most common cause of a toothache, dental decay, begins when the tooth’s enamel is compromised by acid produced by the bacteria in plaque. As the decay progresses and reaches the more sensitive inner layers of the tooth—the dentin and possibly the pulp—it causes discomfort and pain.

Dr. Sandquist notes, “When patients come to me with a cavity, they are often surprised by how far the decay has progressed. Regular check-ups can catch decay before it reaches the painful stage and affects the deeper layers of the tooth.”

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding the teeth caused by plaque buildup. In its more severe form, the gums pull away from the tooth and create pockets that can become infected.

Dr. Sandquist emphasizes, “Periodontal issues can cause a whole host of problems, not just toothaches. However, tooth loss is the end result if the disease progresses without treatment. Early signs include red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, and our team helps bring this destructive condition under control in most cases.”

3. Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition where pus forms in or around a tooth caused by a bacterial infection. Dr. Sandquist warns, “An abscess can lead to a severe, persistent, throbbing toothache. If you notice severe discomfort, swelling, or redness around a tooth, or you have a fever, it’s crucial to seek professional help quickly to avoid spreading the infection.”

4. Tooth Fractures

Teeth can crack or fracture from trauma, grinding, or biting on hard objects. Sometimes, the crack is too small to be visible, even on X-rays, but it can still cause pain when you bite down or when the tooth is exposed to temperature extremes. Dr. Sandquist states, “Fractures can be tricky because they’re not always immediately noticeable. We suspect a fracture if a patient reports a sudden sharp pain when chewing. These are cases where detailed examination and sometimes a 3D X-ray are necessary to diagnose properly.”

5. Grinding and Clenching

Bruxism, grinding, and clenching, known medically as bruxism, can lead to toothaches due to excessive wear and tear on the teeth, which exposes layers of dentin or can lead to fractures. Periods of high stress can exacerbate these habits, producing pronounced discomfort. Dr. Sandquist recommends, “Being mindful of clenching and wearing a custom mouth guard at night can be significant preventative measures. It’s important to address the symptoms and the stress causing the bruxism.”

Prevention Lowers Toothache Risk

For most dental issues, prevention is better than cure. Regular visits to a dentist like Dr. Sandquist can cause problems like decay or gum disease before they become severe pain. During these check-ups, X-rays can detect early signs of decay and other potential issues that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Additionally, maintaining a good oral hygiene routine—brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash—can help prevent plaque buildup and gum disease.

If toothache strikes, the first action should be to consult a dental professional. Treatment might range from fillings, crowns, and root canals for decay and fractures to more specialized periodontal treatments to address gum-related issues.

Discover The Solution for a Toothache at Sandquist Dentistry

While toothaches have various origins, they commonly signal an underlying dental issue requiring professional attention. Dr. Doug Sandquist and his team in Las Vegas are dedicated to tackling these painful problems by offering comprehensive dental care tailored to individual needs.

Remember, prompt treatment alleviates pain and can save teeth with comprehensive, long-term planning. So, don’t delay seeking professional advice if you’re experiencing discomfort or pain in your teeth. Contact our team to start your journey to optimal wellness and your best smile!

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