Toothache or tooth pain is the most frequent cause of dentist appointments. This pain can be acute or chronic and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as inflammation. Tooth pain is usually a secondary symptom to different inflammatory and infectious processes in the dental pulp, the tooth's inner tissue, and periodontal tissue, the tooth's supporting tissue.
Causes of tooth pain
Although it can be caused for very different reasons, the most frequent cause of tooth pain is tooth decay, a disease that affects more than 80% of the general population to a greater or lesser extent. In its early stages, the tooth decay lesion is asymptomatic, but when it progresses, an inflammation of the dental pulp occurs, known as pulpitis.
There are two types of pulpitis: reversible pulpitis, which produces pain with thermal stimuli and disappears immediately afterwards, and irreversible pulpitis, which persists after the stimulus has disappeared and produces spontaneous pain without any external stimulus.
If left untreated, the inflammation can spread to the tissue around the tooth and cause periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause spontaneous pain when chewing as well as throbbing.
Other causes of tooth pain can be acute necrotising gingivitis or acute necrotising periodontitis, two diseases with a bacterial origin that can cause pain in the gums.
Tooth pain: treatment
In the event of tooth pain, it is essential to go to the dentist to make a correct diagnosis of the cause of the pain and to carry out the necessary dental treatment.
However, while waiting for the visit to the dentist, certain oral hygiene and pharmacological measures can be followed that can alleviate the tooth pain, especially if it originates in the periodontal tissue that surround the tooth.
First of all, it is essential to continue brushing the teeth properly. That is, at least twice a day (once before bed), for two minutes.
And preferably with a rotary electric toothbrush, since it contributes to a greater reduction of plaque and gum inflammation.
Similarly, cleaning of the gaps between the teeth is essential during the oral hygiene routine. In this sense, interdental brushes have proven to be the most effective system, more so than dental floss.
With regard to oral pharmacological treatments, prescribing one type of analgesic for tooth pain or another will depend on the patient's history and the origin and intensity of the condition. Applying a specific localised dental solution that provides symptomatic relief from oral discomfort or toothache, tooth and gum pain can also be of great help.
Among the most effective active ingredients in this type of solution, benzocaine stands out as a local anaesthetic that is widely accepted due to its immediate action and tolerance.
However, it must be understood that the prolonged use of some drugs, such as analgesics and anti-inflammatories, can control tooth pain, but can also mask certain diseases, allowing them to become chronic and irreversible. Therefore, it is essential for any patients with acute tooth pain to visit the dentist to establish a differential diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate treatment.