We’ve all experienced a toothache from time to time. However, a toothache isn’t something that you should learn to live with. This is because a toothache may indicate a more serious problem affecting your oral health. If you’re experiencing severe pain, have had a toothache for a couple of days, or have other symptoms such as fever or headache, then you should visit the dentist immediately!
To get a better understanding of what do do about a toothache, we’ll look at:
- When to see a dentist about your toothache
- Toothache causes
- Toothache symptoms
- Toothache relief
While common, a toothache isn’t something to be taken lightly. By understanding their various causes, symptoms, and ways to relieve them, you’ll be much better prepared to schedule that dental appointment!
When to See a Dentist About Your Toothache
If you’ve been putting off seeing your dentist about a toothache then you may want to rethink that decision. A toothache may indicate a more serious problem that requires immediate attention. Contact your dentist immediately if you’re experiencing:
- Severe pain from your toothache
- A toothache that lasts 24-48 hours
- Earache, fever, or another form of mouth pain on top of your toothache
Your dentist will be sure to pull your medical history and perform an exam. They will also ask questions such as:
- How severe is the pain?
- When did the pain start?
- Where is the pain located?
They’ll also want to know what makes it worse or what, if anything, makes it better. Your dentist will make sure to examine everything they can that may be related to your toothache, as well as your nose and neck. They may recommend tests, including X-rays, to help narrow down the cause of your pain.
Toothaches can be caused by different problems. While the pain can fade after a little while or may only be momentary, they can actually point to serious problems happening in your mouth and body. If left untreated, toothaches can grow into a much more serious problem.
Some common causes of toothache include:
- Damaged fillings
- Abscessed tooth
- Fractured tooth
- Teeth grinding
Cavities are one of the most common causes of toothaches. These occur when the enamel or dentin (the middle layer of your teeth) has decayed resulting in damage to your tooth. Damaged fillings can also result in toothaches due to cracking or breaking from being worn down.
An abscessed tooth can be especially painful and dangerous. These occur when the inside of your teeth becomes infected and can spread to other parts of your body! Fractured or cracked teeth are another common problem. You can fracture a tooth by chewing something too hard but it can also become more common as you age.
Grinding or clenching your teeth is often the result of stress. Grinding your teeth too much causes erosion of the enamel which can lead to cavities and teeth fractures. Gingivitis can feel like a toothache, but it affects the tissue and bone around the tooth and not the tooth itself. Gingivitis can lead to tooth loss due to the breaking down of tissue surrounding the tooth.
There are many reasons why you may be experiencing a toothache. It could be due to a reason on our list or possibly something else. What’s important to realize is that it may be a sign of something more serious. If your pain is constant or comes back regularly, it’s probably time to schedule an appointment and get it checked out!
Toothaches are often a sign of a deeper issue such as a cavity, tooth fracture, or abscess. This means that you may experience other symptoms related to the underlying problem.
Let’s start with the toothache itself, since they can vary in the type of pain you experience. This pain can be sharp or it can be a throbbing around your tooth. The pain may also last for different durations of time. For instance, your tooth pain may only be momentary and hurt when you chew or drink something cold. On the other hand, it may be a constant, low throbbing.
Along with a toothache, you should be on the lookout for:
- Swelling of the gums and face
- Bad taste in your mouth due to discharge from the infected tooth
Like the toothache itself, all of these symptoms may point to a deeper problem. Contact us today if you’re experiencing any of these issues. We can help get to the bottom of whatever dental problem you may be having and set it right!
Whether you’re experiencing occasional sharp pain or a toothache at night that’s keeping you awake, you want relief. While visiting the dentist is your best bet at fighting tooth pain, there are some steps you can take to help alleviate your pain until your appointment.
For emergency toothache relief, try:
- Flossing to remove any debris wedged between your teeth
- Applying an ice pack or cold compress to your cheek
- Swishing warm water in your mouth
- Taking an OTC painkiller
These tips can help alleviate your pain until you can see your dentist. Remember that there is no substitute for actual medical care. In the end, your dentist will be the best source for diagnosis and treatment of your toothache.
A Quick Word About Benzocaine
Benzocaine is a common ingredient in OTC oral anesthetics. While you can find these products at your local pharmacy, it may be a good idea to avoid using them as a first resort.
According to MayoClinic.org:
Previous advice included sparingly applying an OTC antiseptic containing benzocaine directly to the irritated tooth and gum for temporary relief. But benzocaine has been linked to a rare and serious, sometimes deadly, condition called methemoglobinemia, which decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry.
Make sure to talk to your dentist before using products with benzocaine and only use the recommended amount. You should also avoid giving them to children under the age of two who are teething. Make sure you store them correctly and keep them out of reach of children.
While common, toothaches can point to a more serious oral health problem. Make sure to see your dentist if your pain lasts more than a day or so. This could be a sign of a cavity, abscess, or other serious condition. Remember that while you may only notice the toothache, it may actually be part of a broader group of symptoms such as swollen gums and discharge from an infected tooth. There are solutions for emergency toothache relief, but your dentist is the best person to talk to for diagnosis and treatment of tooth pain.
My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday and every other Friday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.