When you first experience a toothache, all you probably want to do is find relief. You may be tempted to reach for over-the-counter medications to ease your pain, but you should first figure out what's causing your toothache. In some cases, the cause may be something you didn't even know was a problem. 

This post explores some lesser-known reasons for toothaches and explains why they count as dental emergencies.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Your wisdom teeth are the last ones to come in, and they typically appear during your late teenage years. Unfortunately, not everyone's mouth is big enough to accommodate these extra molars. When this happens, the tooth may become impacted, meaning it grows at an angle or gets stuck beneath the gum line.

An impacted tooth can cause toothache for a few different reasons. First, the tooth may put pressure on the adjacent teeth, which can cause pain. Additionally, because the tooth cannot break through the gum line, it's more susceptible to infection. An infection can cause pain in the tooth, as well as swelling, redness, and tenderness in the gums.

If you think your wisdom teeth may be to blame for your persistent toothache, make an appointment with your dentist right away. First, they'll assess the tooth to see if it's impacted and, if so, what kind of treatment is necessary.

In some cases, the tooth may need to be removed. However, if the tooth is only partially impacted, your dentist may simply clean the area and monitor it for any signs of infection.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ is short for the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge that connects your lower jaw to your skull. This joint allows you to move your mouth up and down and side to side, so you can talk, eat, and drink.

Sometimes, the TMJ can become damaged or misaligned, a condition known as TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can cause toothache for a few reasons.

First, if the joint is misaligned, it can put pressure on the teeth and cause pain. TMJ disorder can also lead to bruxism, which is when you grind or clench your teeth. Bruxism can damage the tooth enamel and cause tooth pain.

If you think TMJ disorder may be causing your toothache, your dentist can help. They may suggest wearing a mouthguard at night to protect your teeth from grinding. If the joint is misaligned, they may suggest physical therapy or surgery to correct the problem.

There are many other potential causes of toothache, some of which aren't on this list. So, if you experience tooth pain or discomfort, see your dentist immediately. They can help you figure out what's causing your toothache and provide the appropriate treatment before it's too late.