Why It Takes Time to Determine the Causes of Toothaches
Posted on 1/15/2018 by Clay Keith dds
A toothache always feels more severe than it actually is, almost always coming with a headache. Whether it is caused by recent orthodontic alignment, impacted wisdom teeth, damaged dental sealants or fillings, tooth fracture, gum disease, tooth abscess, tooth decay, teeth grinding, or merely improper flossing or brushing, the harrowing pain and discomfort are nevertheless almost the same for all conditions.
In comparison to stubbing your toe and being able to feel the localized pain in the specific toe, determining the specific origin of the toothache is somewhat trickier and takes more time. Read on and find out why.
An Abundance of Responsive and Sensitive Neural Connections
The profusion of nerves from the teeth connecting to the pain centers of the brain amplifies the suffering caused by a toothache. Furthermore, the brain is somehow or other incapable of discriminating where the pain signals are actually coming from.
This phenomenon is underscored in a recent imaging study showing that pain in an upper tooth can be experienced and misread by the brain as coming from a lower tooth.
In other words, a patient is thus not advised to diagnose and medicate on his own, since the aching tooth he pinpoints as the culprit is wrong most of the time.
In the same study, it also revealed that the cingulate cortex, the insular cortex, the somatosensory cortex and the cerebral cortex are all simultaneously activated in a toothache, and thus the specific source of pain cannot be identified by you and your brain.
The Only Response of Dental Nerves to All Stimuli is Pain
Unlike the nerves on the tongue that can identify various tastes and flavors, or the skin that can feel changes in temperature or pressure, dental nerves only feel pain. In other words, whether the stimulus given is heat, cold or pressure at a tolerable level, the response of dental nerves is only pain.
Meticulously determining which stimulus a tooth reacts to and the length of time the discomfort remains can aid in diagnosis and determining a suitable treatment. Only a dental health professional can perform this task expertly and accurately.
Visit our clinic ASAP at the initial onset of a toothache, and spare yourself from unnecessary and preventable pain.
The Center for Implant & General Dentistry Clay Keith, D.D.S. | Paul Denson, D.D.S.