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Causes of Toothache

If you’re experiencing mouth pain, it probably falls into one of the following two categories:

  • Category 1: I can pinpoint the pain to a single tooth.
  • Category 2: I can point to a general area, but I’m not exactly sure where the pain is coming from.

Due to the many potential causes of tooth pain, it’s challenging to determine what exactly is creating your symptoms. When one of our dentists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group meets with you, the first step is to make a thorough analysis of your problem. We also ask questions like:

  1. Would you describe your pain as “dull,” a constant ache that covers a semi-broad area?
  2. Or is the pain more “sharp,” a sudden, localized pain triggered by temperature (hot or cold food or drink) or pressure (like when biting down)?
  3. Do you feel pain in a single tooth, a group of teeth, or from the area above your teeth in the sinus area?

This analysis helps us determine the pain’s point of origin, as well as if an infection has spread to a wider area.

Our goal: Completely eradicate pain, and provide the absolute best chance of saving your tooth.

Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

The symptoms described above indicate serious dental issues that need to be managed. In some cases, a patient will try to “tough it out.” The pain may even fade with time, but don’t be fooled! The problem will only come back, and it’s usually worse! In most cases, the absence of pain indicates that the tooth pulp has died, and the nerve is no longer able to function. This leads to a new set of complications.

If Left Untreated…

Once the pulp tissue inside your tooth becomes severely infected, it’s likely to spread outside of the tooth. The disease travels through the small openings at the end of the root, known as the apex, and spreads to the periodontal ligament (the tissue which keeps the tooth anchored to the bone and gum). This leads to a variety of serious problems, including periodontal disease or a gum abscess, both of which can cause intense pain.

In other cases, the infection will spread from the gums (due to periodontal disease), eventually migrating into the pulp of the tooth, traveling through small passageways in the dentin known as accessory canals.

Treatment Options

When a dental problem involves both gum disease and the root canals, saving the affected tooth is a challenge. This is why seeking immediate treatment is so pivotal. If the problem is primarily in the root canal (having moved later into the gums), prompt treatment often results in a positive outlook for the tooth. If gum disease came first, then spread to the root, saving the tooth may prove more difficult (depending on how much bone has been lost). However, an effective treatment plan can stop and prevent further damage.

The key: Seek treatment for toothache as soon as possible. We’ll do everything we can to bring you relief, and provide the best long-term health for your teeth, gums and jaws.

Schedule Your Root Canal Consultation