The second-most common cause of a dental toothache would be a gingival abscess, or a "gum" infection around the tooth. These types of infections exist on the outside of the tooth, and are usually caused by poor hygiene, history of periodontal disease, or quite possibly a foreign body, such as food which gets caught under the gum line. These types of infections have nothing to do with the nerve inside the tooth, and can be treated differently. Many patients would try vigorous saltwater rinsing, mouthwash rinses, and tooth brushing to help combat this type of infection. Normally, the gum is swollen around the tooth making it quite tender. If it is in fact a foreign body causing the infection, much like a splinter in a finger, eventually the infection will pass once the foreign body is loosened. This typically would take a few days. It is recommended that one seek professional advice from a dentist to verify the cause of the infection. Normally in the dental office, the area would be cleansed, and any foreign debris or plaque removed. The tissue would normally return to normal within the week.
Lastly the most common toothache we see has dentists involves the fracture of the tooth. If the fracture is significant, it exposes the sensitive layer of the tooth below the enamel, and in extreme cases exposes the nerve. When this occurs, dental intervention is absolutely necessary. If the nerve has been involved, a root canal or extraction be recommended. If the fracture does not extend into the nerve, the tooth may require restorations such as a filling, or crown, depending on the size of the broken area.
As a practicing dentist, I do recommend that whenever people experience a dental toothache, that he or she seek consult from a dentist so that the proper diagnosis and treatment can be offered. Such a plan puts the patient's health and comfort in top priority.
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