Dental etiology, in most cases toothaches are caused by problems in the tooth or jaw, such as
Pulpitis, an inflammation of the dental pulp. This can be either reversible or irreversible. Irreversible pulpitis can be identified by sensitivity and pain lasting longer than fifteen seconds, although an exception to this may exist if the tooth has been recently operated on. Teeth affected by irreversible pulpitis will need either root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth.
A special condition is barodontalgia, a dental pain evoked upon changes in barometric pressure, in otherwise asymptomatic but diseased teeth.
Dry socket, which is a condition arising after having one or more teeth extracted (especially mandibular wisdom teeth).
Some causes of toothache are the more obvious culprits such as a cracked tooth, filling or veneer, dental caries from eating acidic, sweet foods that corrode the fillings and the tooth’s protective enamel layer. This corrosion is caused from the bacteria that are present on the teeth which break down the sugars in refined foods and then excrete them in the form of acids, which then eat away at the protective enamel of the tooth, causing a cavity, infection and eventually toothache.
The treatment of cavities includes avoiding sweets and extremes of hot and cold which can provoke the pain. Medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), can help relieve pain. Patients should then seek the help of a dentist. A simple filling repair may be the best ultimate treatment.
The treatment of dental and medical conditions changes substantially through the centuries. Let us hope for the better!
Two hundred years ago this was how practitioners in England (a center of sophisticated medical care at the time) treated toothache:
"In order to relieve the toothache, we must first endeavour to lessen the flux of humours to the part affected. This may be done by mild purgatives, scarifying the gums, or applying leeches to them, and bathing the feet frequently with warm water. Without modern dental instruments, the perspiration ought likewise to be promoted, by drinking freely of weak wine-whey, or other diluting liquors with small doses of nitre."