October 17th, 2013
When it comes to any kind of oral discomfort, there are always many potential reasons for the pain. However, almost always, the pain can be determined as an issue with the teeth, gums, or tongue. When specified to those three, you can narrow down the possible causes of the pain.
When experiencing toothache your symptoms will include a sharp, throbbing, or constant pain on the tooth. There may be swelling around the tooth and bad-tasting drainage that secretes from the infected area. Toothaches are also capable of causing headaches and fevers if not properly treated.
When experience a toothache, you should visit a dentist if the pain lasts longer the 1 to 2 days, or you start to experience a fever, earache, or migraine. Of course, if the pain is excruciating, don't worry about waiting an extra day in hopes the pain will subside: immediately seek medical attention.
The most likely causes of a toothache include severe tooth decay, an abscessed tooth, a tooth fracture, or a loose or damaged filling. There may be other issues that can also occur, however, the aforementioned causes are, more likely than not, the main culprits.
When visiting the dentist for a toothache, your doctor will first consult you about your pain to help pinpoint symptoms and the location of the problem. Your dentist will ask where it hurts, what causes the pain, how and when it started, and how severe the pain is. Next your dentist will examine your mouth, gums, tongue, jaws, throat, and further depending on the symptoms you reported. Depending on the situation, the doctor may also take X-Rays of the teeth to determine the cause.
Depending on the cause, your dentist can perform several medical procedures to relive the pain. Most likely, the pain is caused from tooth decay and a cavity. Your dentist can fill the tooth, or extract the tooth if necessary. Often a root canal or crown is needed if the tooth is fractured or chipped.
Gum problems such as sore, swollen, and/or bleeding gums are almost always caused by periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. More than three-quarters of Americans over the age of 35 will experience gum disease or its less severe form, gingivitis.
The cause of gum disease and swollen, sore, or bleeding gums is directly related to proper oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and a bacteria-killing mouthwash can all help keep your mouth clean and free of harmful bacteria.
Some of the symptoms caused by gum disease include formation of pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria subsides, bleeding gums during or after brushing your teeth, loose teeth, bad breath, receding gums, and swollen or sore gums.
It is wise to address any of these symptoms rather quickly as the longer you wait, the more severe the disease can become. This can result is weakened teeth, inflamed gums, are serious oral issues. When bacteria grows and is over-abundant it will begin to move to your jaw line and even further into your blood stream causing severe infection.
Another common cause of sore gums comes from canker sores. These sores, or mouth ulcers, can be found inside the mouth on an area of the gums. They are a painful bump often with a white center and red edges. While the exact cause of canker sores is still undetermined, all dentists agree that they are less likely to happen with the practicing of proper oral hygiene.
Tongue issues are often much more serious than gum and teeth. The gum is often referred to as the strongest muscle in the body. So when it becomes swollen, sore, or discolored, you can potentially have a serious situation at hand. However, there are several reasonable explanations for sore tongues as well.
The simplest explanation for a sore tongue can come from accidentally biting the tongue and not knowing you did so. If the pain is in a central area and is swollen, be careful not to irritate it. If the pain subsides rather quickly, you should have nothing to worry about. If your tongue is discolored, especially with a white, filmy substance, it may just be the formation of too much plaque. In those cases, proper oral hygiene and the use of a tongue scraper (PLEASE ADD LINK), can be the solution.
More serious issues can include Lukoplakia, which causes cells in the mouth to grow rapidly and form white patches inside the mouth. Lukoplakia is often occurs after the tongue is irritated, typically when people use tobacco products. While not extremely serious, if not properly treated, leukoplakia can lead to cancer.
Another potential issue when you experience a sore or discolored tongue can be oral thrush, also known as candidiasis. This condition is a yeast infection that occurs within the mouth and creates white, lumpy patches on the surface of the tongue. Though most often seen in infants and the elderly, any person with a weakened immune system can receive this condition.
Often oral thrush happens after the use of antibiotics, which can flush out the good bacteria that rests in your mouth. Kombucha and yogurt can both help restore the bacteria in your mouth that will prevent oral thrush.
Another tongue issue that can happen often is known as Red or Strawberry tongue. The result is a normal colored tongue turning a bright red or even resembles the texture of a strawberry with enlarged bumps and dotting.
There are several reasons for red or strawberry tongue including folic acid and B-12 deficiencies, scarlet fever, and kawasaki syndrome. Benign migratory glossitis is often the most common cause, which causes a map-like pattern of red spots on the surface of the tongue. Because of such, it is often referred to as geographic tongue. This is a harmless condition, which usually last no longer than 2 weeks. It is wise to consult a dentist however so they can detect for certain that it is benign migratory glossitis. If so, your dentist may recommend a topical medication to help with any discomfort.
Black Hairy Tongue can occur when the small bumps on the surface of your tongue known as papillae become excessively long. A typically mouth will wear down papillae through its lifetime while patients with black hairy tongue will see an increase in size over time. This makes your tongue more likely to contract infection from harboring bacteria. If bacteria begin to grow the papillae will become darker and resemble hair. Though this is mostly a harmless condition, proper oral hygiene is encouraged to keep the issue at bay.
For all conditions including teeth, gum, and tongues, the best method of defense is proper oral hygiene. Brush your teeth two to three times daily, floss once a day, and employ a tongue scraped and mouthwash when needed. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol. Eat a proper diet that includes a high amount of fruits and vegetables. And, as always, visit a dentist twice a year for cleaning and inspection.
If you have any more questions on the causes of pain on the teeth, gums, and tongue, contact Water Tower Dental. We can direct you toward the rights steps for care and help set up an appointment to see one of our expert dentists.