Common Toothache Causes
Are you wondering why your teeth hurt? If you have aching teeth, it may be due to a dental problem such as cavities, gum disease, bruxism, TMJ or a non-dental problem, such as a sinus infection or even stress.
- Sensitive Teeth: Some types of toothache pain occur if you are using dental care products like peroxide-based whitening agents that penetrate into your teeth causing tooth sensitivity.
- Bruxism: If you have aching teeth with no signs of tooth decay or gum disease, you may be experiencing bruxism. Bruxism is the technical term for grinding your teeth. Bruxism is a common cause of aching teeth that affects millions of people of all ages in the United States. If you experience aching teeth and other symptoms of bruxism, see a dental professional as soon as possible. If left untreated, chronic tooth grinding can damage crowns and fillings, and wear away tooth enamel, putting your teeth at increased risk for infection or decay. Causes of bruxism that lead to aching teeth include crooked teeth, poor jaw alignment, and stress or anxiety. If bruxism is due to misaligned teeth, straightening your bite with orthodontia could help solve the problem. But if bruxism is due to chronic stress, stress management techniques may be needed to help relieve your aching teeth. Your dental professional may recommend a mouth guard to wear at night to help prevent tooth pain associated with bruxism.
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction: If you're stressed to the point of clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, you can develop tooth pain associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ is the joint that hinges the lower jaw to the skull, enabling you to eat and talk. Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth put additional stress on the muscles of the jaw, which can cause tooth pain. If your tooth pain is caused by TMJ syndrome, your dentist may recommend a TMJ dental splint to reposition the lower jaw. But in less serious cases, warm compresses applied to the jaw, eating soft foods, and taking measures to reduce stress can help.
- Damaged Teeth: Your toothache pain could be caused by a cracked or broken tooth. If this is the cause of your pain, see your dentist as soon as possible. A broken tooth can contribute to tooth decay.
- Decayed Teeth: Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of toothache pain. Tooth decay occurs when acids from plaque bacteria penetrate into the tooth enamel causing a loss of tooth mineral which, if it progresses, can ultimately cause pain in the tooth’s inner layer, the pulp.
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