Some toothaches are temporary. For instance, tooth pain resulting from infected sinuses will usually fade as the inflammation subsides. If your tooth hurts and you’re otherwise healthy, however, then the toothache is likely a dental one, in which case it won’t resolve itself. Instead, it will grow worse the longer it’s left untreated.
Filling a Cavity
Your tooth is layered, like an onion. The outer layer, or enamel, is a super-resilient, semi-translucent barrier of mineral crystals that protects the tooth from infectious bacteria. Underneath enamel is a dense, porous material called dentin, is similar to bone and less solid than enamel. When tooth decay reaches the dentin, your dentist can treat it by removing the infected portion of dentin and reinforcing the tooth with a tooth filling. Larger cavities may require a dental crown after the filling to improve the tooth’s structural integrity.
Cleaning the Root Canals
Ignoring your toothache will allow it to grow worse as the infection works its way towards the nerves and blood vessels. Called the pulp, this mass of tissue at the center of your tooth is connected to the roots, which extend underneath the gums and into your jawbone. If the pulp is infected, then your dentist may prescribe root canal therapy to remove the infected tissues and relieve your toothache. If necessary, a dental crown can be placed over the tooth to protect it from the pressures of biting and chewing in the future.
Replacing the Tooth
Sensitive teeth prompt most patients to seek treatment before tooth decay consumes their entire tooth, but often, the infection can be pervasive enough that tooth extraction is the only option. Your smile works best with all of its teeth, and your dentist will only recommend extraction when absolutely necessary. To restore your mouth’s function and your smile’s cosmetic appearance, your dentist may also recommend replacing your extracted tooth with a dental bridge, or with a dental implant and crown.