We often get told by our patients that a toothache is once of the worst pain that they can experience. Some have even told us that it is worse than giving birth! You must be thinking – surely a toothache can’t be that bad?
So the question is – how can such a small tooth cause so much pain?
The most common reason for a toothache is that bacteria had spread to the nerve of the tooth. This then spreads to be an infection around the roots of the tooth which can cause a lot of pain. If this infection is left untreated, in most cases it destroys the bone around the tooth, affect your general health and sometimes you can end up with a life threatening infection. In some cases, the infection is so slow growing that you won’t notice it until it is huge!
How does the bacteria spread to the nerve of the tooth? The bulk of the time it happens because there has been decay (a cavity) in the tooth for too long. At the start the decay eats through the enamel, then it gets to the next layer, called dentine. Unfortunately, after that all roads lead to the nerve.
Most of the time people have had symptoms on a particular tooth, on and off for a long time. Because it never consistently troubled them, most people don’t do anything about it. Those little symptoms were all hints from the tooth that something is wrong. Then miraculously, the tooth stops hurting completely and they leave it. This is their biggest mistake. When you don’t feel any pain on a tooth like that, it is because the nerve has died and the tooth is just slowly being infected. Best way to describe it would be a ticking time bomb!
Typical symptoms of a bad toothache include:
1) Pain to hot drinks/food. Sometimes cold alleviates the pain.
2) Pain lingers for a while.
3) It feels like a dull, throbbing pain.
4) Painkillers aren’t working very well.
5) Sometimes worse at night or when you exert.
6) Gives you a headache.
7) Sometimes there’s an abscess (gum boil) on the gums near the tooth.
8) Tooth sore to touching/pushing.
If you do end up with an emergency- don’t worry! We have kept aside specific appointments for same-day emergency appointments. Will will try our best to get you in! So give us a call as soon as you can!