The pain of a toothache alerts you that something is not as it should be. Usually, when patients experience a toothache, a cavity, fractured tooth, or other dental issue is to blame. However, occasionally toothaches can occur from non-dental physical conditions; when you think about it, it’s not surprising: your teeth sometimes react to nearby inflammation or pain because they are so closely connected to your jaw and surrounding facial structures. Below, find common toothache sources that are created from inflammation or issues outside of the mouth. Just remember – it’s always a good idea to have tooth pain checked out, even if you think it could be caused by one of these issues. Our team at Metro Dental Care in Denver, CO, can help accurately pinpoint the cause of your toothache and treat the cause or give you tips for relieving the pain at home. If you are currently experiencing a toothache, give us a call to set up an appointment with one of our experienced dentists at 303.534.2626.
Periodontal Ligament Inflammation
Have you heard of a bruised tooth? It may sound strange, but your teeth can become “strained” or “bruised” when they experience too much pressure. Along with your jaw bone, soft ligaments help to hold your teeth in place. They also absorb shock from biting, chewing, or sometimes, trauma to the mouth. When they have experienced too much shock, they can become aggravated and the inflammation or pain is transferred into teeth which you notice as a “toothache.” A bruised tooth most commonly occurs from:
- Fatigue from chewing hard, crunchy or chewy foods
- Nail biting
- Dental procedures
Sinus Congestion / Sinusitis
During cold and flu season, it’s common for patients to experience tooth pain caused by sinus pressure or infections. Your sinuses are located very closely to your upper teeth roots (and some patients even have tooth roots which extend into the sinus cavity). When sinuses become inflamed, pressure builds up in the sinus cavity and can be transferred to the jaw bone and teeth roots directly below. As a result, sensitivity, throbbing and dull pain, or sometimes even sharp pain can be felt in the back molars.
To tell if your toothache is caused by sinus pressure, bend over; if the pain increases when bending over, it may be caused by sinus pressure. Another telltale sign is if the area around your eyes feels tender to the touch. In addition, if toothache symptoms appear when you also first start experiencing sinus congestion symptoms, it could be a sign your toothache is temporary. Once sinus symptoms dissipate, so should your toothache.
Your temporomandibular joint is the “hinge” that controls the up and down and side to side movement of your jaw. When this joint becomes damaged, displaced, or inflamed, painful symptoms can occur. These may include:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw or face when chewing, speaking, or yawning
- A feeling of fatigue in the jaw and mouth
- Clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
- Pain or tenderness when chewing or biting
Tooth pain is also not an uncommon symptom, due to the inflammation in the TMJ and surrounding muscles or ligaments. If you experience any of the above symptoms with a toothache, TMD could possibly be to blame. Often, TMD is caused from teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism), stress, arthritis, or misalignment of the joint. For patients who grind or clench their teeth at night, our Metro Dental Care team can fit a custom mouth guard to prevent damage to the teeth and TMJ, and thereby reducing TMD toothaches.
The presence of a toothache is not something you should ignore. Though not every toothache is caused by tooth decay or tooth infection, our team can help determine the exact cause of the pain and help you get back to living pain-free sooner. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment the next time you have a toothache. Contact our office in downtown Denver, CO, Monday through Friday at (303) 534-2626.