Tooth pain can be caused by a variety of reasons such as from a cracked tooth, decay, infection of the tooth/bone, gum recession, improper restoration, etc. just to name a few.
The severity of a toothache can range from chronic and slight pain to acute and unbearable pain. The discomfort may be intensified by chewing food or by cold or heat. A thorough oral examination which includes dental x-rays can help determine whether the toothache is coming from a tooth/jaw problem and the cause.
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Tooth Decay (Caries & Cavities)
Dental caries are caused by a breakdown of tooth enamel. This occurs from the bacteria in our mouths that breakdown foods and by doing so, produce a by-product of acid. This acid weakens the tooth enamel and without remineralization, results in tooth decay.
Usually cavities are painless until they grow closer to the nerve of the tooth. Dental decay left untreated goes into the internal tooth structure resulting in root canal treatment or tooth loss.
Did you know?
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of children aged 6-11 years and adolescents aged 14-17 years which is a common cause of tooth loss for these age groups.
Good oral hygiene helps to prevent dental decay:
Brush twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
Floss daily for between your teeth or use an interdental aid
Eat balanced, nutritious meals and limit snacking and pop/juice sipping.
Ask our dentists about dental sealants to protect the chewing surfaces of back teeth from decay.
Although teeth are strong, sometimes a tooth can chip, crack or break. Bruxism, biting down on a hard food or an object and having cavities cause this dental issue. If a large portion of the tooth breaks off it can cause pain because the tooth’s nerve may be damaged. Exposure to air, hot/cold foods and drinks can also make your tooth very uncomfortable.
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Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. The gum is inflamed due to the bacteria in plaque buildup and this causes the gum to easily bleed during brushing. In this stage, the teeth are still secure in the bone and no bone/gum loss occurs.
Gingivitis left untreated can advance into periodontitis. Destroyed tissue and bone loss may happen if left untreated.Teeth can become loose and tooth loss can occur as a result of this.
Periodontal Disease does not hurt. Signs of periodontal disease are bleeding and swollen gums, persistent bad breath and gum recession.
What other factors cause gum disease?
The highest rates of periodontal disease occur in older people
During puberty, pregnancy and menopause hormonal changes affect the blood supply to the gum tissue and the body’s response to the toxins from plaque build up. Women are more prone to develop gum disease at certain stages of their lives.
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are examples of some diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system that can aggravate the condition of your gums.
A lot of medication’s side effects can reduce the flow of saliva which protects the teeth and gums. Some drugs used for anticonvulsants and anti-angina can cause an abnormal growth of gum tissue.
Smoking & Tobacco use
Tobacco interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells and impairs the blood flow to gums.
Stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off any infection.
These habits can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which periodontal tissues are destroyed.
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, develop in most young adults. Wisdom teeth can be very difficult to keep clean and/or there isn’t enough room for them. This makes third molars highly susceptible to decay and gum disease.
Some wisdom teeth never erupt and stay impacted, but those that do erupt may cause pain when emerging through the gum tissue. Radiographs can reveal the position of wisdom teeth so we can make the proper diagnosis and create the best treatment plan for the problem.
What happens if a missing tooth or teeth are not replaced?
Bone that supported the tooth previously begins to shrink over time due to the loss of stimulation, both in height and width.
When multiple teeth are lost, significant loss of jaw bone can occur. This often leads to difficulty wearing a removable denture due to lack of an adequate ridge.
The neighbouring teeth of the lost one or two teeth can cause them to lean over in the vacant space. The opposing teeth will also erupt into the open space.