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Clinical Overview

Clinical Overview

Clinical Overview

Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Most toothaches arise with inflammation of the tooth pulp or pulpitis. Symptoms of toothache vary from short sharp pains in response to hot, cold, or sweet stimuli, to a throbbing sensation that can be intermittent or continuous. Toothaches can intensify when lying down as well as while eating and drinking. Tooth decay, fractured or cracked teeth, problems in the roots of teeth, abscesses in the gums, inflammation of the gums and even sinuses can all result in symptoms of toothache. Toothaches can also arise after dental procedures and are sometimes associated with very deep fillings or injuries to the nerve of the tooth in question. Medical conditions can also manifest as toothache. Angina (chest pain), temporomandibular dysfunction, sinusitis, earaches, trigeminal neuralgia, and cancers are among the non-dental conditions associated with toothache and pain in the jaw area. Toothaches may have a halo effect that makes it difficult for patients to point to the source. Thus dentists may need to use several diagnostic tests to determine the exact location of the problem.

Last updated: May-03-07

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