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What Causes a Toothache?

A toothache, also known as odontalgia or, less frequently, as odontalgy, is an aching pain in or around a tooth. In most cases toothaches are caused by problems in the tooth or jaw, such as cavities, gum disease, the emergence of wisdom teeth, a cracked tooth, infected dental pulp, jaw disease, or exposed tooth root. Causes of a toothache may also be a symptom of diseases of the heart, such as angina or a myocardial infarction, due to referred pain. After having one or more teeth extracted a condition known as dry socket can develop, leading to extreme pain. Toothache or tooth pain is caused when the nerve root of a tooth is irritated. Dental (tooth) infection, decay, injury, or loss of a tooth are the most common causes of dental pain. Pain may also occur after an extraction (tooth is pulled out). Pain sometimes originates from other areas and radiates to the jaw, thus appearing to be tooth pain. The most common areas include the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ), ear pain, and even occasional heart problems.

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