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Why do Toothaches Hurt so Much?
Posted on 6/5/2015 by Dr. Call
| When talking about painful things, there is hardly anyone who would disagree that a toothache is right up there among one of the most painful things to endure. Trying to eat is impossible; trying to talk is difficult and forget about finding a comfortable sleeping position!
Even though we all have different thresholds of pain, we can all agree a toothache is the worst. Have you ever wondered why a toothache hurts so much? In order to know the answer to that question, you need to know about the make-up of a tooth.
What is the Anatomy of a Tooth?
The part of the tooth that is visible is called the enamel. This is the hardest part of a tooth. Enamel is made up of calcium phosphate which is a mineral that is rock-hard. The next layer is called dentin. It's the layer right under the enamel. Dentin is a layer of living cells that produce a substance of hard minerals. Under the dentin is the first soft layer called pulp. It's the inner living layer of your tooth. Nerves and blood vessels run throughout the pulp of your teeth. The layer around the tooth at the bottom is called cementum. This does just what it sounds like it would do; it binds the roots of the tooth to the bone and jaw. Finally there is the periodontal ligament. This ligament holds the teeth against the jaw.
Where does all this Pain come From?
As you might have suspected by now, the soft layer called the pulp is where the pain comes from. Not only does this layer have a tremendous amount of blood vessels and nerves, the pulp has everything in it to provide nutrients to the tooth. The blood supply to the dental pulp is very small unlike other areas of your body. The blood supply comes up through a tiny opening in the root of the tooth and travels up the walls of the tooth.
Now most other parts of your body react in a certain way to an injury. The injured area will swell and the pain is generated to a larger area. The swelling will recede over time taking the pain away with it. Teeth are solid and cannot swell; however, so an injury to your tooth can lead to the death of cells in the tooth and pulp area or an infection.
Another cause of pain in the tooth is its inability to feel heat and cold. When the nerve in a tooth is stimulated in this way it reacts with pain. Any stimuli to your tooth will cause a pain reaction.
How Are Tooth Aches Treated?
Our dentists, Jefferson Call, DMD and Dix Densley, DDS, can do several things to reduce pain in the tooth. If the toothache is caused by an abscess or infection, a prescription for antibiotics may clear up the infection.
If the nerve of the tooth is dying, we may recommend a root canal which will take the damaged part of the root out, relieving the pain; if your tooth has a cavity which is causing pain, a composite filling will be put in.
If your tooth is cracked, a dental crown on the tooth may be the treatment. There are occasions when a tooth is damaged beyond repair and must be removed to clear up any infection.
No matter what the cause of your toothache, you know it's one of the worse things you've dealt with. We know how to manage this pain and will help you take care of it as soon as possible. Until you can get in to see us, take ibuprofen for the pain and refrain from chewing or putting pressure on the affected tooth. Remember, this too will pass.
If you are suffering from tooth pain, call us to set up an appointment today! Please contact us today at (971) 708-1608.