Toothaches are extremely unpleasant and can make eating difficult and painful, but fortunately there are many beneficial treatments in general dentistry. Before deciding on a treatment option for toothache pain, it is helpful to understand more about toothaches. The sensation can be dull, sharp or throbbing. Toothaches can be sensitive to temperature, pressure or texture as well. Do not ignore a toothache; treat it as soon as possible.
Common causes of toothaches
To pick the most effective treatment option, it is crucial to identify the cause of the toothache:
- Tooth decay from plaque, caused by the sugars and starches in food
- Food or debris accumulation between the teeth
- Trauma to the tooth, from an injury or grinding teeth
- Inflammation or infection
- Teeth that are erupting but do not have enough room to develop normally
Self-care treatment options
Prior to seeing a dentist, there are some self-care tips that may help relieve a toothache. Rinse the mouth with warm water to ease pain and clear out debris. Then, use dental floss to carefully remove any food or plaque that is lodged between the teeth. If pain is severe, try an over-the-counter pain reliever. If the toothache is a result of trauma or injury, place a cold compress on the face right outside of the area.
It is vital to take steps to keep future toothaches from forming. Prevention is the easiest and most effective method to do at home. Follow good oral hygiene practices to avoid tooth decay, food buildup and infection. Thoroughly brush teeth twice daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Make sure to regularly floss the teeth to remove food and prevent plaque build-up.
Visit a general dentistry twice a year so that a professional can deep clean the teeth and check for any issues. Regular appointments at the dentist keep teeth healthy and clean. For those who have frequent problems with toothaches, ask the dentist about sealants or fluoride applications for extra protection against toothache pain.
When to see a dentist
At-home treatments may not always work, especially if the toothache is severe. If the pain persists for more than a couple of days, call the dentist. A toothache that is accompanied by fever, infection, swelling, red gums or trouble breathing and swallowing is extremely serious and should be handled by a dentist immediately.
If the toothache is caused by tooth decay or a cavity, the dentist may fill it or extract the tooth if necessary. For toothaches caused by an infection of the tooth’s nerve, a root canal may be the recommended treatment option. In the event that bacteria entered the inner tooth and caused infection, antibiotics can be prescribed.
Getting toothache treatment early is important for reducing symptoms and preserving teeth. Waiting too long prolongs the pain and can lead to serious long-term effects. Go to a general dentistry practice if you are suffering any signs of a serious toothache as well as for regular dental exams.