Ronald Rosenblatt, DDS (General and Cosmetic Dentistry) gives expert video advice on: What dental tests will determine the cause of a toothache? and more...
What is a "toothache"?
A toothache, very simply, is a pain in the tooth. The are several causes of toothache. The most common reason that you have a toothache is because there is a large amount of tooth decay in your tooth. When that happens, the decay needs to be removed and the tooth needs to be repaired. The toothache can also come about because the tooth has been fractured, exposing the interior of the tooth to the outside environment, particularly cold. The strongest stimulus you can put in your mouth is cold; it's stronger than heat. If you break your tooth and expose the inside of your tooth, it's going to hurt; you're going to have a toothache. You can also have a toothache because your gums are bad. If you have a real problem in the gums, you can have a toothache. You can also get a toothache if your bite is off, so that you are grinding your teeth or you are hitting too hard on one tooth; that would cause a toothache also.
What dental tests will determine the cause of a toothache?
The definitive test to find out what causes your toothache is a dental X-ray. It may be necessary to take more than one X-ray to find the angulation that will show us exactly where the tooth pain is coming from. And many times, even though you're feeling the tooth pain in one area, the problem can be in another area. So sometimes more than just two X-rays are necessary to discern, or find out, exactly where the tooth pain is coming from.
How will my dentist treat a toothache?
If your toothache is caused by a gum problem, then the gum problem will have to be eliminated to treat the toothache. If your toothache is coming from an impacted wisdom tooth, the wisdom tooth will have to be removed. So in summary, depending upon the cause of your toothache you will be treated one way or another to eliminate the cause and thus eliminate your toothache.