3 Tips To Diagnosing The Causes Of Your Toothache3 Tips To Diagnosing The Causes Of Your Toothache

It is said that toothache is one of the worst types of pain one can suffer, when it is in its worst stage. When the cause of this terrible pain is just starting, there are no signs or pain at all; it only becomes apparent when the cause is already quite serious.

The tooth is an interesting structure. It comprises three layers in the crown, the part of the tooth which is above the gum line; and three layers in the root, the part which lies below the gum line that is imbedded in the jaw bone. Above the gum line, the visible part of the tooth is covered with enamel, an extremely strong substance that is the strongest component of the human body. It is the enamel which gives the tooth its shiny covering and colour. Below the enamel is the dentine, which makes up the greatest part of the tooth. The dentine is similar to bone in its composition; but is not a strong as the enamel layer. The central part of the tooth is the pulp cavity where all the blood vessels and nerves run, bringing nutrients and oxygen and removing waste matter.

Below the gum line, the root comprises a layer of cement which surrounds the elongated part of the pulp cavity. This cement is rough in texture and anchors the tooth into its socket in the jaw bone.

The three stages of toothache, which are all caused by tooth decay (or caries), are first a mild ache in a non-specific area. As the decaying process continues and works its way into the dentine section of the tooth, which is closer to the pulp cavity containing the nerves, the pain worsens and the infected tooth can be identified. When the decay actually reaches the pulp of the tooth, a dreadful throbbing pain ensues.

The stages of toothache are extremely easy to identify and set out below are 3 tips to diagnose the basic causes of toothache:

• If the tooth is sensitive to the intake of air, hot and cold substances, but the pain disappears after a very short time, some of the enamel covering has been eroded to expose the dentine layer. This is not decay, but rather erosion from brushing as it occurs mainly along the gum line.

• If the tooth is sensitive to sweet things and possibly cold substances, decay is present and it has penetrated into the dentine layer.

• If the tooth throbs, the decay has reached the pulp, which expands because of the infection into an abscess in the soft tissue at the tip of the root. As there is nowhere for the infection to go, a great pressure builds up, thus causing the throbbing.

In order to prevent decay from taking hold and causing you terrible toothache, it is recommended that you follow a strict dental hygiene program at home, consisting of twice a day brushing and the use of dental floss to clean between the teeth, as well as regular visits to your dentist for checkups.
by Greg Garner
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