Have you ever wondered what causes a toothache? If you have had one, the only thing you really care about is getting rid of it! This article will explain why teeth hurt, and how to treat the pain.
What are cavities?
Cavities are caused by bacteria in our mouth. The bacteria use the sugar in our food to survive and grow. In the process, the bacteria produce acid which can dissolve the enamel of the tooth. As the enamel gets dissolved the underlying layer of tooth is exposed (this layer is call dentin). The pulp (nerve) of the tooth has extensions into the dentin layer. So, as the infection gets deeper into the tooth, the pain increases and weakens the tooth.
Early cavities can be filled by your dentist to remove the damaged tooth structure and replace it with a hard plastic (composite filling). Cavities that extend deeper require either a root canal (to remove the nerve of the tooth and eliminate all the bacteria inside the tooth) or an extraction (removal of the tooth).
Why should I have a tooth removed if antibiotics make it not hurt?
Antibiotics can reduce the bacteria causing a cavity. However, antibiotics cannot eliminate the source of the infection. To eliminate the tooth infection, a root canal or extraction is needed. Therefore, even though antibiotics provide a temporary relief, it is in fact just a temporary relief. If the source of the infection is not addressed, the pain and infection will return.
Can you take a tooth out if it is infected or hurting?
Yes! As outlined above, the BEST treatment for infection is elimination of the source of the infection. An infected tooth should be removed as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading. Infection in any part of the body should be treated quickly and completely.