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A toothache is generally described as a pain that is felt either around the jaw or the teeth. There can be a number of reasons for a toothache; however, they generally result from problems associated with the tooth, jaw or both. Many people often just wait until the pain subsides; however, this can lead to increased problems down the road. A toothache is your body’s way of telling you there is a root problem there that extends beyond the pain and should be corrected. Typically, some of the causes related to toothache may include a cracked tooth, dental cavity, gum disease, exposed tooth root, muscle spasm while chewing or disease of the jaw joint. It should be also understood; however, that in some cases a toothache could also result from a completely different problem, such as even angina or a heart attack. This is certainly rare; however, cases have been noted in which a patient suffering from such problems noted a toothache before the onset of major problems.

Typically; however, most toothaches occur from a dental cavity. These are holes that appear in the two outer layers of the tooth. These layers are known as the dentin and the enamel. The enamel is the hard white outermost surface that we see when we look at our teeth while the dentin is the yellow layer that is present just below the enamel. Both enamel and dentin act to protect the living tooth tissue, known as the pulp, that lie on the inside. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessel. When bacteria in the mouth convert simple sugars into acid the acid can soften the dentin and enamel and create a cavity. If the cavity is small and shallow it may not cause much or any pain. In fact, it might not even be noticed. If the cavity is larger; however, it can collect debris from food. This can affect and irritate the living pulp on the inner part of the tooth. It may then be affected by foods that are hot, cold, sweet or sour. Typically, most people first come to a dentist because they are experiencing pain as a result of such larger cavities.

When the cavity is small and shallow the cavity can be filled rather easily. In the event of a larger cavity; however, a crown or onlay may be required. In the event the cavity has penetrated the pulp and it has become injured it may be necessary to perform a root canal or possibly even extract the tooth that is affected. This is important because when the pulp tissue is injured, if the situation is not corrected, the tissue could die and that could lead to infection or an abscess. In a root canal procedure, the dying pulp tissue is removed and replaced with an inert material. This is a last resort attempt to prevent the need to remove the tooth completely.

Gum disease can also result in toothaches and ranks as the second most common cause for toothaches. This is an inflammation of the soft tissue as well as an abnormal loss of bone that surrounds the teeth. Because the gum tissue holds the teeth in place, this is quite important. Gum disease is typically caused by toxins that have been secreted by bacteria in the plaque that accumulate along the gum line over time. Plaque is a mixture of saliva, bacteria and food. Symptoms of early gum disease could include gum bleeding and pain in more advanced cases. This can cause swelling, infection and destruction of the bone as well as the possible loss of teeth that are otherwise healthy. In the case of early gum disease, removal of the bacterial plaque can treat the problem along with continual oral hygiene. For moderate to advanced cases, a thorough cleaning of the teeth and roots may be required.