A tooth hurts badly. Each of us has faced this unpleasant situation more than once or twice. Many regular patients of dental clinics already independently differentiate tooth decay pain from pulpitis pain.
If the pain is spontaneous, intense and growing at night, they rush to the dentist the next morning and if the pain is caused by external stimuli and indicates the development of a deep cavity, they allow themselves a couple of days to postpone treatment. But what do you do when your teeth hurt all at once? To begin with, let’s understand why we feel toothache in the first place.
How does the mechanism of tooth pain sensitivity work?
The nerves attached to each tooth and gum tissue are part of one of the segments of the peripheral nervous system, namely the facial nerve. For each jaw is one nerve plexus, formed by multiple nerve endings that descend from each of the teeth. Simplifying the scheme of the innervation of the teeth, we can say that all of them are eventually connected to the branches of the facial trigeminal nerve.
And if there is inflammation anywhere along the innervation, the pain signaling this can be felt in all the tissues permeated by the nerve endings from this plexus. Therefore, it is not uncommon for patients who need treatment for caries of several teeth to come to the doctor complaining of painfulness of the entire tooth row. The pain spreading over all the nerves of the plexus does not allow for a clear indication of its location.
Why do my jaws and all my teeth hurt?
In addition to tooth decay, there are a number of other purely dental causes.
- When teeth with sensitive enamel are exposed to hot and cold, spicy and sour foods, discomfort throughout the entire jaw can occur.
- It is also often difficult to identify the source of the pain when there is pulpitis (inflammation of the neurovascular bundle) or periodontitis (a complication of pulpitis).
- Treatment of a tooth cyst also brings relief from the painfulness of the entire dentition. With purulent inflammation of a long-standing cyst, there may be pain without clear localization.
- Significant discomfort is also caused by an erupting wisdom tooth, especially if it is not positioned correctly in the jaw. When the eighth molar touches the nerve endings of the neighboring teeth, the pain not only spreads throughout the jaw, but also irradiates to the ears and temples.
- When your jaw hurts after a tooth extraction, you need to see a dentist urgently. Such pain usually indicates the development of a complication.
General discomfort is also experienced by an orthodontic patient who had braces installed a few hours ago. But the patient will be warned about the discomfort in advance.
In dentistry, a condition in which your teeth ache or ache is called hyperesthesia. It involves an increase in enamel sensitivity due to various predisposing factors.
Additional signs of hyperesthesia are:
- The appearance of characteristic pain after eating sweet, sour, cold or hot foods and drinks;
- The teeth begin to ache when inhaling cold air;
- pain may spread to several teeth and the entire jaw, and increase when you try to knock on the teeth;
- During the painful attack, salivation is increased and it becomes difficult to speak, especially outdoors, because the teeth suddenly begin to ache a lot;
- because of the constant pain syndrome, the appetite decreases and people are forced to eat only semi-liquid food, as chewing causes discomfort.
When the teeth begin to ache, the person takes a forced position, tries to put warm palms to the face and have as little contact with irritants as possible. It is impossible to endure such pain for a long time. And in order to understand why your teeth ache and what you can do about it at home, you need to understand what irritants cause hyperesthesia.
What if it is not caused by teeth?
- Toothaches can also be caused by problems in related areas. Unfortunately, sometimes the affection of the trigeminal nerve, responsible for the sensitivity of the whole face, requires the extraction and depulling of several healthy teeth. It is difficult to distinguish between the pain of neuralgia and toothache.
- Sometimes a cluster headache radiating to the upper jaw area is mistaken for pulpitis.
- Haymorrhitis and otitis media can also cause serious discomfort in the maxillary teeth.
- Pain behind the sternum, typical of angina pectoris, may irradiate into the lower jaw. It usually concentrates in the back of the jaw on the left side.
Whatever the nature of the pain you mistake for dental pain, self-treatment should not be attempted. Hurry to the dentist for a consultation to diagnose and determine the cause of the pain. You may take a pain reliever before visiting the clinic, but you should avoid applying heat or cold to the sore area to prevent it from getting worse.