If it’s only a minor nuisance, then your toothache might not actually seem too troublesome. In fact, you might be able to just ignore it until it goes away. The problem, however, is that even if your tooth is only slightly sensitive, chances are that it’s only going to get more severe if you ignore it. There are several reasons for teeth to ache, but in many cases, a toothache is a sign that you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
1. Your tooth’s protective enamel is dangerously weak.
Tooth enamel is your teeth’s natural defense, and is the strongest substance that the human body produces. Enamel is an incredibly resilient, semi-translucent layer of minerals that surrounds the tooth all the way to the gum line. The main body of your tooth, known as dentin, lies underneath enamel, and when the outer layer grows weak, the dentin can become irritated, leading to tooth sensitivity. If not treated, weak enamel can soon lead to tooth decay – an infection in your dentin that leads to cavity development.
2. You’re grinding your teeth too much.
Even if tooth decay isn’t an immediate threat, your enamel can still grow weak and your teeth increasingly more sensitive when you consistently grind your teeth. Known as bruxism, unchecked teeth-grinding affects millions of people and occurs often at night, while a patient is asleep. Left untreated, bruxism can lead to excessive wear on your teeth’s chewing surfaces, as well as chips, cracks, and other structural damage to one or more teeth.
3. Your teeth roots are exposed to oral bacteria.
Your teeth roots are not protected by enamel, but are rather surrounded and shielded by your gum tissues. When gums recede (a common sign of gingivitis and gum disease), the roots become exposed and can feed sensory information to the tooth’s nerves. Exposed teeth roots can also leave your teeth more susceptible to internal tooth infection, causing more severe tooth discomfort and the need for root canal therapy or tooth extraction.