Toothache and Painful Gingivae
Causes of toothache
Toothache is elicited by stimulation of the nerves in the pulp of a tooth. Common causes are:
- Tooth decay
The bacteria in the cavity of a decayed tooth cause inflammation of the pulp tissues, stimulating the nerves in the pulp.
Exposure of dentine
There are numerous microscopic tubules in the dentine which connect to the pulp. If these tubules are exposed because of the gum recession or severe tooth wear (e.g. abraded by toothbrushing or eroded by acidic food and beverages), the tooth will become sensitive, and pain will be elicited in the nerves of the pulp through these tubules when the tooth is stimulated by cold, hot, sweet or sour food or drinks.
At the same time, the acid released by the dental plaque may also stimulate the nerves in the pulp through the exposed dentine.
Tooth abraded by toothbrushing
- Fractured Tooth
The exposed dentine and/or pulp tissues resulting from fractured tooth are susceptible to any external stimuli.
Causes for painful gingivae
Painful gingivae are caused by the inflammation of the tissues around the tooth. Common causes are:
- Tooth decay
In a severely decayed tooth, the pulp tissues may become necrotic. The bacteria of the necrotic pulp cause infection of the periodontal tissues via the root canal, leading to inflammation and formation of abscess.
- Gum Disease
The toxins released by the dental plaque cause inflammation of the tissues around the tooth.
Food debris and bacteria are easily trapped in the space between the crown of the wisdom tooth and the overlying gingiva (gum), resulting in the infection of the surrounding tissues (Pericoronitis).
Go to see a dentist to receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible:
- Tooth decay:
Possible treatment: Endodontic(pulp) treatment, filling, crown
- Gum disease:
Possible treatment: Scaling, root planing, periodontal surgery
Possible treatment: Scaling, antibiotic therapy, extraction
- Dentine exposure:
Possible treatment: Apply topical fluoride, filling, crown.
- Tooth fracture:
Possible treatment: Extraction, filling, crown, Endodontic(pulp) treatment
Last revision date: 18 January 2012