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If you ever had a toothache, then we don’t need to tell you how every move, thought, sound and even touch is overshadowed by a throbbing pain. In case you’re among the people who dread the dentist or your dental care provider is unable to see you right away, but you want to know what is causing the pain, here are some possible causes.

1. Tooth abscess

A tooth abscess refers to a pulp infection that develops below the root of the canal. The infection is essentially puss containing bacteria, dead tissue and white blood cells, and causes inflammation of the tissue inside of the tooth. While it is frequently described as a throbbing and pulsating pain, identifying the correct sore tooth can’t be done unless you take a dental x-ray.

2. Tooth decay

By ignoring tooth decay, you are opening a gateway to a number of serious dental problems, all of which can result in toothache. Even though a cavity will not always cause pain, leaving it untreated may lead to bouts of discomfort. Take note that small untreated cavities will eventually penetrate the enamel and invade the dentin layer, a stage during which the pain intensifies. Soreness associated with cavities is often described as sharp and intermittent, and is triggered by cold and sweets.

3. Wisdom teeth

One of the most common reasons for toothaches in adults is the growth of wisdom teeth. Take note that if you experience high levels of pain in the area where the wisdom tooth develops, then you might need to have it extracted. While the pain is sharp and throbbing, take note that it is normal given the circumstances: the tooth is trying to erupt but it’s unable to do so because of the undesirable position or because it doesn’t have sufficient room. Fortunately, in most cases, a wisdom tooth that is cutting through the gum results in a toothache similar to the one babies experience when teething.

4. Gum disease

Although most gum diseases don’t cause soreness in the teeth, advanced conditions can cause aches in the oral cavity that are confused with toothaches. For instance, an untreated gingivitis will eventually cause inflammation of the soft gum tissue known to create a dull type of pain in the area. In case of more serious gum diseases, like periodontitis, the infection forms on the outer tissue of the mouth and causes a throbbing pain that intensifies when the area is stimulated.

5. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

TMJ and/or a misaligned bite constitute two conditions known to cause pain in teeth that appear to be healthy. Because the teeth and/or jaw are misaligned, it means that the forces exerted by the incisors are not distributed evenly. Therefore, the extra force leads to inflammation of the teeth’s nerves resulting in a toothache.In addition, because patients suffering from these conditions tend to clench or grind their teeth, in time the enamel wears out, leaving the dentin layer exposed. This can cause a certain level of pain and sensitivity to temperature extremes. On a side note, grinding and clenching can also lead to tooth fractures or break dental restorations, both of which are very painful.