Toothache is one of the most common reasons for people to visit the dentist. Even though someone may know that there is an issue, such as a cavity, they may avoid coming to the dentist because of anxiety, financial concerns, or because they do not believe there is truly a problem until pain develops. Even after pain has developed some people may still delay visiting the dentist, and may hope that the pain will resolve on it’s own. But having a toothache is much more than just having pain, though this is often the most noticeable symptom. Toothache and other forms of dental pain may be due to a number of issues. The most common cause of a severe toothache is the irritation of the “nerve” of a tooth due to very deep decay. In these situations the tooth will generally become very sensitive to hot and cold and often produces a constant aching or throbbing pain. This is the, unfortunately very noticeable, toothache. However, in these situations what may not also be noticeable is that the tooth is also often infected by the bacteria, or “bugs”, which cause the decay in the first place. This infection, while not always immediately noticeable, is potentially very dangerous. Starting in the tooth this infection may progress to the bottom of the tooth (causing it to be sore on biting), through the jawbone and then sometimes drain out through the gum. Just like any other infection the body’s immune system will try to protect you from this invasion, but it is not always successful and this is when a toothache may prove to be more dangerous than you may think. If the infection is left unchecked then it may spread and cause swelling inside or outside of the mouth. In some cases the infection may spread under the tongue and into the neck, to the area surrounding the eye and possibly even into the brain. These situations are highly dangerous and may be even be fatal.
If you do have a toothache it is important to visit the dentist as soon as possible so that it can be treated promptly. If you have any serious issues such as fever, swelling, difficulty breathing or difficulty opening your mouth then you should visit a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.
This is why at Australia Dental we stress the importance of regular check-ups and early treatment of dental problems to prevent them from reaching such an advanced state and now with online appointments available taking that first step has never been easier!
Dr Neil Evans.