What is a Toothache?
"Toothache" is pain typically around a tooth, teeth or jaws. In most instances, toothaches are caused by a dental problem, such as a dental cavity, a cracked or fractured tooth, an exposed tooth root, or gum disease.
Sometimes diseases of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint), or spasms of the muscles used for chewing can cause toothache like symptoms.
The severity of a toothache can range from chronic and mild to sharp and excruciating. It can be a dull ache or intense. The pain may be aggravated by chewing or by thermal foods and liquids which are cold or hot. A thorough oral examination, proper tooth testing and evaluation, along with appropriate dental x-rays, can help determine the cause. What we want to know is whether the toothache is really coming from a tooth or somewhere else.
Aren't all toothaches caused by a tooth or several teeth?
Nope. Sometimes, a "toothache" may be caused by a problem not originating from a tooth or the jaw at all. Pain around the teeth and the jaws can be symptoms of diseases of the heart (angina, heart attack), ears (such as inner or external ear infections), and sinuses (air passages of the cheek bones) such as sinusitis (infection of the sinus cavities). For example, the pain of angina is usually located in the chest or the arm. However, in some patients with angina, a toothache or jaw pain are the only symptoms of their heart problem. Infections and diseases of the ears and sinuses can also cause pain around the teeth and jaws. Therefore, evaluations by both dentists and doctors are sometimes necessary to diagnose medical illnesses causing a "toothache."
Keep in mind, while rare, some chronic toothache like pains are caused by neuralgias and other nerve ailments.
What are some Dental causes of Toothaches?
A dental cavity or decay which has inflamed the pulp. Left untreated this will progress to an abscessed tooth. Sometimes, in spite of the decay removal and restoration the pulp has become so inflamed that it continues to degenerate.