Dental pain such as a toothache can be debilitating and is no ordinary pain. It indicates that there is some problem with the health of the teeth or jaws and your mouth needs urgent attention. Toothache can either be mild or excruciatingly painful. You may experience tooth pain when biting or sipping on a cold beverage or eating cold food or brushing your teeth. Whatever be the case, tooth pain is really annoying and the most unpleasant experience one could ever have.
Besides causing extreme discomfort while eating and drinking, it can cause inflammation in the mouth and the gums and even lead to headaches. Tooth pain that lasts for more than an hour can take a toll on your mood and your day. Also, if it persists and doesn’t go away shortly, it can disturb your sleep at night. Due to all these reasons, a toothache or dental pain needs to be considered seriously and treated timely before it aggravates to another and intolerable level.
Common causes of toothache
Are you wondering what could have gone wrong with the tooth? Well, tooth pain might be caused due to a number of reasons. Dental caries, abscessed or infected teeth, a damaged filling, a tooth fracture, periodontitis or trauma are the most common causes of dental pain. Tooth pain is also the result of inflammation building in the dental pulp. The condition is known as pulpitis. The dental pulp is a delicate area inside the mouth and innermost part of the tooth which encompasses soft connective tissue and nerve endings which are highly sensitive to pain. Due to this tooth pain may get triggered in an instant. Overall, tooth pain can be throbbing and is difficult to bear.
Let us understand the most common toothache causes in a bit more detailed manner.
Dental Caries – Dental caries remain a major oral health problem all over the world. Also known as tooth decay, dental caries refer to the destruction of the tooth tissue due to acid made by bacteria present in dental plaque. When tooth decay begins and starts to spread, the patient may experience pain and inflammation and even pulp tissue death.
Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease is a serious gum disease. It involves inflammation of supporting tissue of the teeth which is mainly caused by a host of bacteria present in the gingival margin. This can also result in destruction of the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. The sad part is that this disease is not symptomatic in earlier stages but as it progresses, it can result in periodontal abscess and pain.
Pericoronitis – Pericoronitis is associated with the arrival of wisdom teeth in a haphazard manner. When your emerging wisdom teeth are not coming out in a straight direction or are impacted, it results in trauma from the opposing tooth which causes inflammation and pain. As the tooth tries to break through the gums and has only partially emerged, there is excess gum tissue that overlaps the tooth. This creates a chance of potential accumulation of bacteria and food debris in the space between the teeth which can later progress into an infection causing inflammation and pain.
Symptoms of toothache
A throbbing and persistent pain that doesn’t go away on its own is usually the most obvious symptom of toothache and an underlying dental disease. It may also indicate an infection or inflammation in the tooth or in the gums surrounding it. Usually dental pain is an early inflammatory response to a dental disease. Infections develop at a much later stage if the problem is left untreated and has spread deep beneath the tooth.
Here are some general symptoms that patients come across in cases of dental pain:
- Swelling or tenderness in a particular area of mouth
- Pain while chewing or biting
- Sensitivity to cold or hot drinks and in several cases sweets also
- Aggravated pain which hinders sleep cycles and affects day activities as well
The key to pain management and treating inflammation is understanding the root cause of the toothache. Today modern dentists follow an advanced approach to diagnosis and treatment. They use truly state of the art tools and equipment to examine the mouth and use safe and painless dental procedures to treat the root cause of dental pain thus enhancing patient comfort.
How dentists manage pain during oral procedures
Some people refrain from visiting the dentist and carelessly skip dental visits to avoid experiencing the pain that sometimes comes along with dental procedures. The sad part is avoiding the dentist will only aggravate the dental issues and lead to enhanced oral pain. Today complex and commonly used dental procedures like tooth extractions, bridges, and crowns typically do not cause oral pain and disorder. This is because dentistry has progressed by leaps and bounds and today there are a variety of pain management techniques to control pain effectively and swiftly. If you ever find yourself in a situation when you need a dental check up but freaking out at the thought of painful procedures, then drop all your worries right away because your dentist knows the best mechanisms and methods for pain prevention and management.
Controlling dental pain via sedation Techniques
Sedation dentistry is being widely used by dentists to help combat pain and anxiety during complex dental procedures such as root canal therapy or pulling out a tooth after a serious infection. Sedation therapies typically cause unconsciousness and help the patients relax while in a dentist’s chair which allows the dentist to smoothly work in their mouth. While minimal sedation can keep the patient awake and conscious, deep sedation provokes a stronger outcome and causes complete sleep.
There are mainly four different levels of sedation namely minimal moderate, deep anesthesia and general anesthesia to control and manage dental pain. Minimal anesthesia as the name itself sounds isn’t administered in a very strong dose and suppresses the consciousness in a small amount. Patients who undergo moderate sedation are awake but awareness is skewed. He can respond to the dentist’s verbal commands however the speech may be blurred.
The impact of general anesthesia is strongest in comparison to other levels of anesthesia. It will make the patient fully unconscious and unaware during the oral procedure allowing the dentist to perform the complex dental procedures in a simpler manner. However the use of General sedation is rare and mostly used on patients with extreme anxiety or young children who cannot cooperate with the dentist like adults. Do not fret because the effects of sedation are not harmful and merely temporary.
Different forms of sedation
Sedation via Nitrous Oxide
Also called laughing gas, Nitrous oxide, is a type of minimal sedation given to the patients. Under this sedation, the patient almost always stays awake, is aware of the surroundings and can even respond to the dentist’s instructions. The dentist uses a mask to deliver the gas or the oxygen mixture to the patient. When inhaled, the nitrous oxide starts to slow down the nervous system and causes the brain and body to relax. However, the effects can wither away quickly once the gas is discontinued. You will be able to get up comfortably without feeling giggly or sleepy.
In this form of sedation, the sedative medications are introduced into the bloodstream to relieve dental anxiety. It is administered either through an intravenous line or a shot into the muscle. The person is constantly awake during the dental procedure but less conscious during the procedure. Only the area around the tooth which needs the treatment will be numb. This form of sedation is commonly used while performing root canal procedures to help reduce anxiety, discomfort and pain during the procedure. Once the root canal procedure has been completed, you can simply get up from the dentist’s chair pain free and go home the same day.
Oral sedation is also one of the methods that dentists use for pain management while performing dental procedures. In this form of sedation, no anesthesia is injected or gas is given to inhale rather a combination of medications has to be taken orally which will calm you down during the dental procedures. The oral sedative is a type of Benzodiazepine which will help the patient reduce anxiety and calm down. The person will stay in a calm and relaxed state of mind throughout the procedure which will allow the dentist to perform the oral procedures smoothly. If you are scared of needles, this method of sedation can work for you.
Never avoid getting dental treatment due to the fear of pain. Today modern dentists are adept in managing pain and discomfort during dental procedures. Based upon your dental treatment, your dentist will choose the most suitable option for managing pain during oral surgery and you can be assured of a pain free experience and improved patient comfort during the entire dental procedure.