Toothache Warning Signs

Toothache McLean, VA

A toothache is a prevalent oral health issue. The toothache pain may range from mild to severe and serves as an early warning sign that the teeth have a problem and that it is time to see a dentist. Untreated toothaches can lead to more complicated dental problems and compromise one's oral health.

Common toothache warning signs

The following are warning signs of a toothache, so patients can know when to take action.

Sharp, severe, and throbbing pain

A tooth infection or dental abscess is indicated by a progressively worsening toothache and red or swollen gums. This is a major dental problem. A dental abscess is a pus-filled pocket in the tooth or its supporting structure. The pus leaves a terrible taste in the mouth. As the pocket continues to swell with worsening infection, patients may experience excruciating pain around their jaw, ear, and neck. Patients need to see the dentist before it gets to this stage.

Sudden and intermittent teeth sensitivity

If drinking something cold or hot causes a jolt of discomfort in the teeth, patients may be dealing with enamel deterioration or gum recession. It may also indicate the presence of a cavity, a minor tooth fracture, or a dental abscess. If the tooth has a dental filling, the filling may be damaged or loose. If the pain remains despite home remedies, it is advisable to visit the dentist, especially if it has been more than six months since the last visit.

Persistently dull and throbbing pain

Patients might not need treatment for mild but recurrent pain, but it may indicate nerve damage. Grinding the teeth or putting too much pressure on the nerves in the tooth roots can cause nerve damage. A dull throbbing pain may also be caused by tooth decay. It is important to seek dental care if a dull throbbing lasts more than a day or two.

Discomfort when eating

If consuming certain food types causes tooth discomfort, there might be a cavity. Hard foods, such as nuts, and ones that require a great deal of chewing, such as steak, can place strain on the teeth. Instead of avoiding certain foods, patients need to get the problem resolved to eat their favorite meals again. The dentist will determine the origin of the pain and recommend an appropriate solution.

Pain around the jaw joint

Wisdom teeth and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction are two of the most common causes of pain around the jaw joint. Wisdom teeth tend to cause short-term discomfort. It is crucial to have a dentist check them to see whether they are impacted. Wisdom teeth impaction can cause other dental problems, such as infection or shifting other teeth out of place. TMJ disorder is caused by jaw joint misalignment. Stress and teeth grinding may cause the jaw joint to become misaligned, resulting in jaw, ear, and neck pain. The dentist will recommend treatment for the disorder.

In conclusion

A toothache is a common occurrence. This is your body's way of signaling a dental issue. Early treatment of toothaches, as with other health problems, tends to prevent more complex and expensive complications later.

Request an appointment here: or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

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