People who have experienced a toothache know how intense the pain can be. Whether the discomfort is intermittent or constant, it can be debilitating.
The pain in a tooth can be caused by a number of preventable conditions that may surface from poor oral hygiene or a lack of dental care. Here are a couple of these conditions:
A cavity is a hole in a tooth. The hole forms as the tooth material is demineralized by its exposure to acids in the mouth.
Tooth enamel is made up of minerals that can be dissolved by acids. Thus, as the tooth enamel is exposed to a low pH for prolonged periods, the enamel weakens progressively, and holes develop. The demineralization process that causes cavities to form is called dental decay.
As decay ventures deeper into the tooth material, it breaches the enamel layer, allowing the environment of the oral cavity to have direct access to the layer that lies beneath the enamel, the dentin.
The dentin houses ultra-small tunnels that include the dental nerves. As a result, when the dentin is exposed, the nerves are more easily inflamed by environmental factors, such as heat and cold. Once inflamed, the nerves can cause severe tooth pain.
To avoid cavity-causing decay, the teeth should be brushed and flossed regularly. Additionally, an antimicrobial mouthwash may be used to help eliminate some of the acid-producing bacteria in the mouth.
Pulpitis is the inflammation of the pulp, which is the soft, innermost layer of the tooth. The pulp material includes dental nerves and blood vessels.
If a cavity is deep enough to reach the pulp, the tooth may become infected by oral bacteria. The infection not only inflames the pulp, but it may also cause irreversible damage to the dental nerves, resulting in chronic tooth pain.
Pulpitis may often be avoided through the discovery and prompt treatment of cavities. By treating cavities quickly, dentists can stop their progression before the holes reach the pulp layer.
If pulpitis does present, it may be treated with a root canal. During the root canal procedure, the dentist extracts the pulp from the tooth and fills the hollowed space. They then add a dental crown for further protection and fortification.
If a root canal procedure is not performed, a dental extraction may be necessary to relieve the pain caused by the inflamed pulp.
If you are suffering from a toothache, schedule a consultation with a dentist from a company like Reston Family Dental Center.