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When Is Toothache Not Just Toothache?




Man With Toothache

If you're lucky enough to have a pain-free mouth, learn to love and appreciate it. You don't know how much you'll miss these pain-free times until they're gone, and they've been replaced by a constant pain that seems to have no beginning, no end, and no explanation. Virtually all of us will be struck down by toothache at some point in our lives, but for most of us, it will go away as soon as it came. Only when it comes back repeatedly do we begin to accept that we have a problem. 

Knowing we have a problem isn't the same as identifying that problem, though. There are multiple different causes of toothache, and as the pain often disappears before a dentist or doctor can take a closer look, the underlying reason is hard to diagnose. Toothache can come from the teeth, the gums, the sinuses, or even elsewhere in the body. A dentist trying to diagnose the reason for toothache is a little like a gambler trying to win at online slots - they know how to get it right, and they know what a win looks like, they just don't have a clear path to doing it, and they're lucky if they hit upon it at the first time of asking. When that happens in UK mobile slots it's called a jackpot, and when it happens in dental care, it's called a near-miracle! While the complex mathematics that goes into creating a winning line in online slots is almost unknowable, the factors that can contribute toward toothache are at least a little easier to understand. We've outlined some of the most common causes below. 

Sinus Infections

Sometimes toothache isn’t caused by anything to do with your teeth or gums specifically - it’s a knock-on effect from having a sinus infection. If you've recently had a cold and suddenly begin suffering from a toothache, it's possible that a sinus infection is to blame for your infection. Tell-tale signs include your toothache being accompanied by cold or flu-like symptoms, pain in your temples, a high temperature, and bad breath. As uncomfortable as the pain will be, it can generally be controlled with over-the-counter painkillers, and the infection will pass within a few days. Drinking fluids and getting plenty of sleep will help to see the infection off. If symptoms persist for longer than one week, you should make an appointment with a doctor. 

TMJ Syndrome

This is a catch-all term covering a pain condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and it can manifest itself in a number of different ways, toothache being just one of them. TMJ syndrome is a disorder of malfunction of the joints and muscles that control the movement of the jaw and can have knock-on effects on the tissues around the jaw, too. The precise cause of TMJ is not yet known, although it's thought that physical trauma can play a role. Some doctors believe that TMJ can be triggered by stress, while others suggest excess caffeine, excess nicotine, and even poor posture can trigger an episode. If TMJ is behind your toothache, you'll often find it comes with headaches, neck aches, pains in the jaw and the side of your face, and clicking of the jaw when opening or closing your mouth. Treatment for TMJ is dependant upon the severity of the pain and the duration of each episode, with painkillers generally prescribed for short bursts, and surgical intervention considered if the pain is continual. 

Teeth Grinding SleepTeeth Grinding In Your Sleep

Some toothache sufferers may note that they have toothache when they wake up and in the early morning only for it to ease off during the day, disappear at night, and then re-appear the following morning. More often than not, this is caused by grinding your teeth during your sleep. People who grind their teeth in their sleep may not ever become aware they're doing it unless their partner tells them it's happening, and so incidental pain is often the way that the issue comes to light. As with TMJ, there are a number of potential causes for nocturnal teeth grinding, including anxiety or stress, alcohol or caffeine consumption, sleep apnoea, dehydration, and crooked teeth or an overbite. Fortunately, this issue is fairly easy to treat - your dentist can arrange for you to be given a mouthguard to wear at night, and this should take care of the problem. While a mouthguard may seem cumbersome, it's important that you wear it if you're a regular nighttime teeth-grinder - you'll eventually wear your teeth down to the point that a root canal procedure may be required. 

Dental Issues 

If your toothache doesn't fit into any of the above categories, then the chances are that it's caused by plain and simple dental problems - although that doesn't necessarily make it any more pleasant, or any easier to treat. When we say 'dental issues,' we're talking about tooth decay, gum infections, abscesses, fractured or broken teeth, and damaged fillings. Any one of these - or a combination of more than one - can cause serious pain and bring on a great deal of discomfort. As a rule of thumb, you should consult a dentist if your symptoms persist for more than one week. If your toothache is accompanied by swelling, you should make a medical appointment immediately. Misaligned teeth may also be a problem, in which case a service like Invisalign Hampshire, could help with braces or more modern dental alignment techniques. 

Although some forms of toothache can and do happen in even the healthiest of mouths, your best guard against it happening to you is to practice and maintain excellent dental hygiene. That means cleaning your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and using mouthwash after each clean to take care of any built-up plaque or bacteria that your toothbrush wasn’t able to get rid of. You should also attend regular checkups with a dentist at least twice a year to ensure that any potential larger problems are identified and dealt with before they can become a major concern. 

In the majority of cases, if cleaning and pain medication can’t be used to deal with a toothache-related issue, dental intervention is the only option. That could mean cavity fillings, extractions, or even the dreaded root canal. None of us want this to happen, so do yourself a favor and take the best possible care of your teeth while you still have them!

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