Can A Toothache Be A Symptom of Something Else?

Can A Toothache Be A Symptom of Something Else?

June 1, 2023

A toothache is among the most prevalent dental issues that have people tracking down a dentist near you. It’s no wonder, though, because if you have been unfortunate enough to experience a toothache, you know how excruciating the pain can get.

A toothache can keep you up at night and even affect your productivity during the day. It’s a pain you cannot ignore if it persists or grows in intensity. Toothaches can range from mild to severe or persistent to occasional.

The location, intensity, and prevalence of a toothache can indicate its cause and help our dentist in Phoenix narrow down and address the cause of your tooth pain.

The truth is that a toothache is often an underlying symptom of an unresolved dental health issue or illness.

Trying to identify the source and cause of a toothache can be a daunting task. More often than not, patients even have difficulty identifying the exact origin or location of the toothache. This, coupled with tooth pain being an indicator of an underlying issue, makes it difficult for most people to isolate, resolve and remedy toothaches without the help of a dentist.

But what are some of the underlying causes of toothache? Let’s find out.

Common Causes of Toothaches

A toothache may occur due to several varied reasons. Some causes may be as simple as food getting lodged in the gums. Believe it or not, a popcorn kernel lodged in your gums can cause such an intense toothache that it could cost you a good night’s sleep.

However, some causes may be a bit more complex and require dental procedures to deal with the toothache. Here are some of the leading common causes of toothache;

  • Gum or periodontal disease and infections
  • An impacted tooth occurs when a tooth that is supposed to grow in, such as a wisdom tooth, fails to break through your bone and gums
  • Tooth decay is also a leading common cause of toothaches
  • Cavities
  • Broken, chipped, or fractured teeth that have an exposed pulp section can also cause a toothache
  • An abscess. This is a life-threatening dental issue that is indicated by high-grade fever, foul breath, swollen gums, headache, a foul taste, and severe toothache. If left unchecked, this infection could spread to the surrounding neck and brain tissues
  • A damaged or dislodged crown or filling
  • Worn-out teeth due to bruxism
  • Dental trauma or jaw bone injuries

A toothache could indicate any of the above dental issues, but it can sometimes be a symptom of something else. Let’s take a look at some of the conditions that could be linked to a toothache.

Other Conditions That May Cause Toothaches

In some other instances, toothaches can be linked to other health conditions. These rare conditions may include:

  • Sinusitis

This can be described as a condition in which your sinuses become infected and inflamed. This occurs when a viral, fungal, or bacterial pathogen enters your sinus cavity and causes an infection.

This condition can lead to the development of a persistent toothache because the roots of your upper teeth are located close to your sinuses, so this infection might cause a toothache to originate around your upper teeth.

  • Heart Attack

Did you know a toothache could also indicate a heart attack? This is because of a particular nerve called the vagus nerve that runs from your brain to your heart and passes through your jaw. A heart attack can cause toothaches to radiate along the left side of your jaw.

It is advisable for patients who have a history of heart attacks to be on the lookout for a sudden onset toothache, as this could indicate an onset of a heart attack.

Patients who have a history of heart disease should strive to maintain their oral health to rule out the occurrence of toothaches that dental diseases could cause.

  • Lung Disease

Lung disease could also cause tooth pain. This is because the vagus nerve that runs from the brain to the lungs, just like in the heart, also runs along the jaw. Due to the location of the vagus nerve along your jaw, tooth pain could indicate serious lung diseases such as lung cancer.

The key to staying ahead of toothaches is maintaining your oral health by visiting our dentist near you regularly and practicing proper oral hygiene practices. Contact us today at Bell Harbour Dental for toothache diagnosis and treatment.

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