Why Do We Feel Throbbing Tooth Pain?
Throbbing Tooth Pain is an interesting phenomenon. The Greek scientist and philosopher, Aristotle, linked throbbing pain to the heart beat. That was over 2,000 years ago, and Aristotle’s assumption wasn’t challenged…until recently. Researchers at the University of Florida monitored the heart rates of subjects with throbbing tooth pain to determine if there was a link. They discovered that there was no link between tooth throbbing and the heart beating. What they did discover, was that throbbing pain correlated with the activity of alpha waves in our brain.
The University of Florida Research Neurologist, Dr. Andrew Ahn, said, “We understand very little about alpha waves, but they appear to have an important role in attention and how we experience the world. In addition, by analogy to how a radio works, alpha waves may also act as a carrier signal that allows different parts of the brain to communicate with itself.” So, scientists don’t really know why we experience throbbing tooth pain, just that we do experience it.
Causes of Throbbing Tooth Pain
Throbbing tooth pain can be caused by problems in the pulp of the tooth.
Pain is a tool that we humans have to protect us from harm. It tells us that something is wrong. If you touch a hot flame with your hand, for example, the pain receptors in your hand are stimulated and release chemicals that carry the message to the part of your brain that registers pain. The message goes back to your hand, you feel the pain and take your hand away from the flame.
If you feel a throbbing pain in your tooth, your body is telling you that something is wrong and it needs to be fixed.
Not all tooth pain is a throbbing pain. Some tooth problems cause sharp, shooting pain and some cause dull aches. Some tooth pain comes and goes and some is persistent and difficult to relieve.
Throbbing tooth pain is often associated with inflammation in or around the tooth caused by:
- infection in the center (the pulp) of the tooth
- infection of the gums
- sinus infection
- cracked or chipped teeth
- broken crowns or fillings
Whatever sort of pain you experience, sharp or throbbing, your brain is warning you of a problem.
How to Relieve Throbbing Tooth Pain
Throbbing tooth pain often intensifies at bedtime, especially when you’re lying down. Here are some things to try to relieve the pain at night:
- Elevate your head with two or three pillows to reduce the amount of blood flow to the affected area.
- Floss, especially before bedtime, to remove any food particles that might be causing pressure and pain to the area.
- Rinse with warm salt water after flossing.
- A warm tea bag, pressed against the affected area may reduce the pain.
Relieving throbbing tooth pain is important, but even more crucial is resolving the cause of the pain, so that you get permanent relief. Tooth pain is a signal, letting you know that there is a problem and that you need to find a solution.