Toothaches are a relatively common dental complaint. Anyone can get them, and those who have had them before know how annoying and painful they can be. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about them, including how they form and how you can go about finding toothache relief.
What Exactly Is a Toothache?
Toothaches typically happen when the central portion of the tooth becomes inflamed. This area, called the pulp, contains nerve endings. When they become inflamed, these nerves grow extra sensitive to stimulation. This leads to sharp or dull pain experienced in or around a tooth.
The feeling varies depending on the person and where the problem is stemming from, but some describe it as a throbbing or jabbing sensation or an increased sensitivity to elements such as temperature. People will often seek a toothache remedy to relieve their pain.
Many factors can lead to inflammation of the pulp and, consequently, to toothaches. The most common cause is the formation of cavities resulting from tooth decay. They can also result from problems such as:
- Tooth fractures
- Abscessed teeth
- Infected gums
- Damaged fillings
- Repetitive motions like grinding teeth or chewing gum
The most obvious symptom of a toothache is tooth pain. It might be constant or only result when there is pressure on the tooth. The pain can also feel like anything from a sharp jab to a dull throb. You can normally help relieve these symptoms through natural methods or toothache pain relievers.
A toothache might also result in other symptoms. You might notice swelling or a bad-tasting pus oozing from the infected area. You might even develop a headache, fever, or pain in other areas of the body.
To avoid dealing with these symptoms, you should take measures to prevent toothaches in the first place. The most effective thing you can do is take care of your oral health by using these proper hygiene guidelines.
Brush Twice a Day
Use a toothbrush that fits comfortable in your mouth and apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (one that contains fluoride) to the brush head. Brush for two minutes, making sure to cover all sides of your teeth. Use a circular motion to get the best clean and avoid wearing away your enamel.
Floss Once a Day.
There is still some debate as to whether or not flossing is beneficial, but it won’t hurt to add it to your routine. You should use the proper technique to make sure you are removing as much debris as possible. Gently slide the floss in between your teeth. Do not floss too forcefully or you risk damaging your gums.
Avoid Sugar as Much as Possible.
A can of soda or piece of candy is fine every once and a while, but if you eat a consistently sugary diet, you will become more likely to experience toothaches. At the very least, clean your teeth immediately after consuming a particularly sugary meal.
Relieving Tooth Pain
There are some ways that you can relieve tooth pain at home. The most effective methods work by reducing inflammation or interrupting the transmission of pain signals from the injury to the brain. Some examples of a natural toothache remedy include:
- Applying ice or a hot pack to the side of your face.
- Practicing acupressure.
- Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.
- Numbing the side of your face with peppermint tea bags.
There are also good, over-the-counter toothache pain relievers available. Take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (e.g. Advil and Nurofen). Always follow the product’s label, and do not stop taking it as soon as you feel relief.
Acetaminophen (e.g. Panadol) will also help relieve toothache pain, although it is not an anti-inflammatory medication.
Please keep in mind that you are only masking the inflammation and pain temporarily with these products and the pain will probably return.
To get to the root of the problem, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist.
What Not to Do
Avoid the following to prevent your toothache from getting worse:
- Eating high-sugar foods
- Drinking acidic or sugary beverages
- Putting a toothache pain reliever directly on your gums
- Applying heat directly on the painful area
When You Should See Your Dentist
It is not uncommon for toothaches to go away on their own. Especially if you use some of the tips previously mentioned, you might be able to relieve pain without seeking a professional. However, you should definitely visit your dentist if:
- The tooth pain is severe.
- Your toothache persists for more than 1-2 days.
- You experience symptoms such as an earache, fever.
- You feel pain when you open your mouth wide.
Your toothache isn’t going away on its own, which is why if you experience any of these persistent symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. However, sometimes the office might not be able to take you soon enough. For those situations, you can always go an emergency dentist if needed.
How Dentists Treat Toothache
During your visit, your dentist will review your medical history and perform a physical exam. They will want to know when you started experiencing the pain, where it’s located, how serious it is, and what makes it feel better and worse.
They’ll likely examine your jaws, gums, tongue, ears, nose, throat, and neck to determine if you are experiencing other symptoms. Your dentist also might conduct X-rays or other tests depending on what they think is causing the problem.
With the information they collect, your dentist will determine the best course of action. The cause usually determines the treatment method.
Toothaches caused by cavities, for instance are treated by fillings and, in extreme cases, extracting teeth. If the tooth’s nerve is infected, you might need a root canal. Your dentist might also prescribe antibiotics to curb a swollen jaw or fever.
Schedule an Appointment for Toothache Relief Today!
If you ignore your toothache and the symptoms for too long, you might end up with serious dental issues. Take good care of your mouth to prevent them in the first place. If you do end up getting one, follow these tips for at-home toothache relief. If the problem becomes more serious, do not hesitate to go to your dentist!
If you are experiencing a persistent toothache and live in the Bronx area, consider scheduling an appointment with us at Dental Smiles Unlimited. We’ve been relieving our patients of pain and helping them to achieve happier, healthier smiles for many years. Give us a call today!