There are few surprise body pains that hit you with more force than taking a swig of an ice cold drink and then feeling that sudden stabbing pain followed by a dull ache that means you've got a tooth problem. An aching molar at the back of your mouth is something that usually causes continual discomfort until the problem is addressed. However, because most people hate going to the dentist, it almost always gets put off as long as possible until the pain becomes unbearable. We always imagine the worst possible solution, something like a root canal. But here are a few of the most common reasons that a person might experience an aching molar, and most of them are easily remedied.
A very common cause of an aching molar is worn tooth enamel that increases the tooth's sensitivity to extremes in heat and cold, a problem usually experienced when drinking a hot or cold beverage. Our tooth enamel gets worn away through regular use and age. As it does so, the sensitive nerve endings in the tooth are exposed to the temperature of whatever you put in your mouth. When the sensitivity comes and goes and isn't a constant ache, you can often easily treat this problem with toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth.
If you have a molar that aches constantly and its sensitivity to hot and cold beverages never seems to ebb, the problem could be more serious, likely the result of tooth decay, also known as cavities. 91% of American adults have tooth decay, a permanently damaged area of the hard surface of your tooth. It may develop holes, exposing the sensitive parts of your tooth. The problem won't fix itself, and it will get worse, so the longer you avoid going to the dentist, the worse the cavity will get. Thankfully, your dentist can easily fix the problem by filling in the damaged area. Cavities are caused by a variety of problems like mouth bacteria, frequent snacking, sugary foods, and lack of dental hygiene. Genetic factors also increase your risk of developing tooth decay.
Another common cause of an aching molar is periodontitis, a gum infection that causes inflammation in the tissues of your gums and can make chewing painful. If left untreated, it can wear away the bones near your teeth and cause severe damage. Fortunately, it can be treated with common dental services like tartar removal, root planing, or antibiotics. One half of American adults develop periodontitis, so it's a very likely cause of an aching molar.