why does a toothache seems unbearable compared to any other body ache?
A toothache is unbearable because the pain is so intense. It feels like a sharp, stabbing pain that is hard to ignore.
Maybe it has something to do with the nerve endings being so close to the brain/sensory organs, and the whole ear nose and throat connections? Lot of nerves meeting up in the head. Punishes us in ways that impede our general sense of functioning, like pain near or “behind” the eye with the shooting pain from the nerve or something? I dunno.
Pain is a really weird one. Tooth-pain may be specifically bad because it’s in your head, and unlike a lot of the rest of your body you can’t move it or adjust it in anyway to alleivate the pressure / pain or even distract yourself.
I sometimes get Trigeminal Neurlagia, which is when the trigeminal nerve in your face (along the cheekbone and the jaw) become extremely painful, your teeth are very close to this and a lot of other facial nerves. This likely impacts the levels of pain as well.
The tooth is also filled with the ‘nerve’ or dental pulp, and it doesn’t have a great circulatory system. So, if you wack your leg your blood can rush to the impacted area and produce a healing response, which calms down the body’s ‘alarm’ pain signal. But, your teeth don’t have this facility so the ‘alarm’ signal might last much longer.
So, I’m not a dentist or a doctor but a mix of near by complex nervous systems, inability to alleivate pain by movement and the fact the blood supply to the teeth is different than the blood supply to other areas.
As someone whose had a tooth infection, in the middle of intense cancer treatments, I feel uniquely equipped to answer this. The reason it feels like “the worst pain” is because it’s inside your face and, worse even, inside your mouth. There is no ignoring it. There isn’t even a way to dissociate comfortably while it’s happening.
Your head is where your brain lives. It’s where your thoughts live. It’s where you live.
Your mouth never stops moving, whether you like it or not. Your tongue and your jaw muscles are always flexing and tweaking.
It’s truly unbearable.
It’s easier to ignore the pain of a needle going through your spine, than into your face, trust me.
Because you haven’t yet experienced other pains. For example, you haven’t had gout yet. Or, you know, other things that hurt worse than dental pain. Dental pain is significant, and best avoided (that is why it is pain), but your assessment of it being the worst is naive. To paraphrase Homer, it’s your worst pain SO FAR. .