An ache at the back of your mouth. You try to ignore it for a few days, but soon it becomes persistent. You find a piece of chewing gum helps, but only for a short time.
Eventually, you can’t help but wonder – how long does a toothache last, actually? It can be difficult to say with certainty as, like any pain, it’s different for everyone.
There are, however, a few common indicators that may help shed some light on what’s going on. We’ve assembled the best and most up-to-date information on toothaches right here.
What Is A Toothache
A toothache is an aching sensation felt around a tooth or in the jawbone. It is usually caused by infection, decay, trauma, or grinding/clenching of the teeth.
It is a sharp, throbbing, or dull pain that may be continuous or come and go. It can be aggravated by pressure, cold, sweet, or spicy foods. It can be localized to one tooth or affect multiple teeth. In some cases, tooth pain is a symptom of a medical condition and should be evaluated by a dental professional.
Factors Influencing the Length of Toothache Discomfort
A toothache can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks or more, depending on the underlying cause. Certainly, here are some factors that can influence the length of toothache discomfort:
The underlying cause of a toothache is the primary factor that will influence the length of discomfort. If the toothache is caused by trauma, the pain will usually subside within a few days. However, if the toothache is caused by decay, inflammation, or infection, the pain may last longer or require professional dental intervention.
Painkillers may be used to help reduce symptoms in the short term, but the underlying cause must be treated to ensure long-term relief.
Timeliness of Treatment
The sooner you are able to receive treatment, the shorter your discomfort will last. If you wait to schedule a dentist appointment, bacteria have more time to replicate and create an infection, which causes inflammation and more severe discomfort.
Early-stage toothaches, even severe ones, can usually be resolved with just cleaning and antibiotics. However, when cavities progress and the development of an abscess is present, additional treatment for toothache may be required to remove the dead or infected pulp and restore the area.
Personal Pain Tolerance
Pain tolerance can be affected by a variety of factors, from physical health to mental health and even individual circumstances. For instance, people with a higher level of physical fitness tend to have higher pain tolerance since their bodies can better cope with stress.
Mental health is also a large factor since people with anxiety may perceive pain differently and therefore experience it for longer than those without anxiety. Individual situations can make certain types of pain more or less tolerable.
When teeth are not properly maintained or not brushed and flossed as recommended, dental health plummets, which can lead to decay, decay-causing bacteria, and other diseases of the teeth. Poor dental hygiene can lead to a toothache lasting for days while those who practice regular tooth brushing. Engaging in treatments such as using a saltwater rinse, avoiding irritants or tough food, and taking over-the-counter drugs for pain relief can help to minimize discomfort and speed up the healing process.
Infection and Inflammation
Infection and inflammation can have a great effect on the length of time that a person experiences toothache. If the infection is left untreated, then it can cause ongoing inflammation that can lead to increased pain, swelling, and discomfort, which can last for days to weeks or even longer. A timely visit to the dentist is essential to diagnose the cause of the infection and to administer the correct treatment to manage the infection and inflammation.
What Are The Common Causes Of Toothache
The length of toothache discomfort is influenced by the underlying cause of the problem. Here’s a breakdown of common causes and how underlying issues can affect the duration of toothaches:
Cavities (Dental Caries)
Cavities, or dental caries, are caused by bacterial plaque which coats the teeth and builds up, causing the enamel of the tooth to deteriorate. Bacteria and acid attack the enamel and cause tiny holes to form in the tooth, which can be painful. Similarly, dental caries are caused by bacterial attacks, which can also lead to a painful toothache.
Dental caries, or cavities, can be prevented and treated with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist. If left untreated, cavities and dental caries can cause significant damage and tooth loss.
Gum Disease (Gingivitis/Periodontitis)
Gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease caused by a build-up of plaque on teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, an inflammation of the gum and supportive structures around the teeth.
In addition to causing toothache, periodontitis can also lead to the loosening and eventual loss of teeth. Symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen, tender gums, bleeding, and bad breath.
Cracked or Fractured Teeth
This type of toothache can be caused by a hard blow to the face, eating too much hard candy or ice, or biting down on something hard. Teeth can also crack or fracture from the pressure of grinding or excessive chewing or due to weakened tooth enamel caused by tooth decay or gum disease.
In some cases, a crack or fracture can extend to the sensitive dental pulp of the tooth, causing toothache. In extreme cases, dental treatments such as a root canal or denture are needed to relieve the pain of a cracked or fractured tooth.
Seeking Professional Help
A dental professional can diagnose the issue and determine if the source of the pain is in the tooth, the gum, a sinus infection, or an infection in the jaw joint. A doctor can recommend medications, dental procedures, and necessary lifestyle changes to alleviate the discomfort and prevent the pain from recurring.
Visit Chino Dentist to identify serious underlying issues such as gum disease or an abscess. Early detection and treatment can provide relief quickly and effectively.
Answering the Question: How Long Does a Toothache Last
So, how long does a toothache last? This varies greatly based on the cause of the pain. If you experience a toothache, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis and seek appropriate treatment.
If left untreated, a toothache can lead to further health complications. If you are experiencing long-lasting pain, make an appointment with your dentist right away.
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