Pain from tooth decay: causes, remedies, what is solution?

Tooth decay is very common among people of all ages. In this article, you will get an idea about tooth decay, the pathology of toothache, why it pains in tooth decay types of dental pain, the causes of toothache from a decayed tooth, what usually a patient feel like, aggravating factors of toothache, tooth pain remedies, and what steps should take immediately if you suffer from sudden severe toothache. 

What is tooth decay:

Tooth decay is the damage to the tooth surface from acid produced by bacteria. It results initially in white patches, brown or black discoloration, or a small hole in the tooth. When cariogenic bacteria come in contact with starch and sugar lodged in the tooth surface they produce acid and minerals of hard tissue start losing.

If the condition left untreated the damaging process can cause sharp tooth pain and even tooth loss.

Why it pains in tooth decay?

Pain from the tooth decay occurs due to inflammation of the nerve  (that is called pulp) located at the center portion of the tooth surrounded by the hard tissues i.e enamel, dentine, and cementum (in root area). Bacterial damage first starts at hard tissue and then progress into the pulp. Inflammation increases vascularity and Intra pulpal pressure which results in pain.

Types of pain produced from a decayed tooth:

Usually, symptoms of decayed teeth start with sensitivity to sweets, hot or cold. If it is not noticed or left untreated pain starts. The pain of decayed teeth may be mild, moderate, or severe. Reversible or irreversible in nature. It depends on the extent of the damage.

Severe pain from tooth decay is usually unbearable. The pain may be referred to as forehead, ear, nose, eye, mandibular joint, and even in the neck. So the patient also complains of headaches, earache, and general unwellness. There may be a rise in temperature if the infection spreads. 

People of all ages especially children suffer most from the toothache. It is one of the most bitter experiences of pain.  

Causes of severe pain from a decayed tooth:

A. PulpitisAcute open pulpitis and acute close pulpitis. Acute close pulpitis is the most painful one.

B. Fractured tooth: Decayed teeth usually have weak structures due to the demineralization of surrounding hard tissues. So crack and fracture may result when someone bites on hard objects or due to extra masticatory force. this pain is usually unilateral, intermittent, sharp, and stabbing in nature. difficult to localize. 

C. Formation of secondary decay underneath or surrounding a preexisting dental restoration ( may be filling, crown, or an onlay)

D. Stuck of any hard unremovable food inside the cavity.

E. Acute apical periodontitis of pulpal origin.

F. Periapical abscess or periapical granuloma as a consequence of tooth decay.

what patient feel like:

Pain due to tooth decay is sometimes so severe that none would like to experience it a second time. It gives different experiences according to severity.

Sometimes patients become very confused about the origin of the sharp tooth pain if multiple decayed teeth present together. The patient may be unable to point to the painful tooth.

Throbbing pain or swelling may present around the gum. Some patients complain of increasing pain while taking cold or hot food or drinks.

But most of the time the patient who suffers tooth decay pain complains that pain increase during sleeping. Pain from tooth decay also increases when foods mainly hard food objects stuck in the cavity. 

Why pain worse at night:

Pain from tooth decay is usually a result of pulpitis which worse at night. The main reason for toothache worse during sleeping is the blood flow. When someone lies down horizontally all the blood flows toward the face and head. Pressure increase inside the pulp which pushes the nerve ending resulting in toothache.

When to visit a dentist and why?

As soon as possible patients suffering pain from tooth decay should visit a Dentist. Make an appointment with a Dentist at the earliest possible date will be wise. Pain sometimes not subside with painkillers unless dental treatment starts. Pain may go away temporarily with painkillers but the problems do not go. In that case, no medication will solve the infection unless the tooth is treated by root canal treatment or others.

As most of the patient is unable to locate the painful tooth, there may be other causes of severe pain like neurological pain which also triggered by stimuli. There are a lot of differential diagnoses of sharp tooth pain. So only a dentist can confirm the diagnosis after reading OPG (full mouth Xray), periapical x-ray, and using other different diagnostic tools. Confirmatory diagnosis helps to fix a proper treatment plan.

The consequence of decayed teeth may arise further complications like facial space infections. Dental pain due to infection can lead to sepsis ( blood poisoning). Sepsis is the frame of deadly reaction to infection.

Tooth pain remedies:

Tooth pain remedies are sometimes life-saving tips. When sharp tooth pain starts suddenly and there is no toothache medicine, no appointment with the dentist these home remedies work best.

1. Take some toothache medicine like paracetamol/ acetaminophen. Ibuprofen is best for toothache. But often no painkillers work.

2. Keep head elevated if pain during sleep time as toothache worse during sleeping. Avoid lay down horizontally. Put 2-3 pillows under the head while trying to sleep.

3.Dont take any cold or acidic drinks. It may increase the dental pain.

4. Use of an icepack externally may give some comfort.

5.Hot saltwater rinsing may give some relief in toothache as it is a natural disinfectant.

6. Mouthwash rinsing is useful sometimes in dental pain.

7. Chewing of cloves and place them close to the decayed tooth will help to reduce pain as the clove is full of eugenol i.e. natural anesthetic.

8. Similarly chewing of garlic and place them in the cavity may give comfort in severe pain from tooth decay as garlic has anti-inflammatory effects.

Final words:

Hope above post regarding pain from tooth decay will help you understand everything about the causes and consequence. A clear concept about tooth decay, why it pains in tooth decaytooth pain remedies, basic toothache medicine, what to do, or what not to do in dental pain will guide you in the right direction. The final suggestion is to meet your Dentist as soon as possible. The more you will waste time the worse will be the condition. Prevention is always better so it will be better to visit a dentist as soon as the decay is noticed and much before the pain starts.

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