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What To Do For A Toothache?

Apr 1, 2024Oral health

What To Do For A Toothache?

The most important thing is to address a toothache promptly, but it is important to first consider the possible underlying cause. The body sends pain signals to the brain to communicate distress and indicate a potential issue. The presence of oral pain typically indicates the need for immediate attention to address an issue.

There are various potential causes of oral discomfort, including tooth decay, fractured teeth, deteriorating fillings, infected gums, and abscessed teeth. Immediate attention is necessary in cases of an abscessed tooth to prevent serious issues. Not seeking immediate treatment may result in the loss of the affected tooth and the supporting bone structure. If left untreated, bacterial infections from oral complications can spread throughout the body, potentially leading to hospitalization or worse outcomes. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following signs of an abscessed tooth.

  • Red, swollen gums
  • A fever
  • A swollen, red bump in the mouth
  • Blood or pus
  • Throbbing pain
  • Unpleasant or salty taste in the mouth
  • Swollen face or jaw
  • Broken or severely chipped tooth

If any of the mentioned symptoms are causing you discomfort, please contact your dentists as soon as possible.

How to Manage a Toothache

Home Remedies

Start with these remedies, which are easily available in your kitchen, medicine cabinet, or nearby pharmacy:

  • Saltwater Rinse: Combine 8 ounces of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, swish it in your mouth for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then spit it out. This saltwater mixture effectively removes particles stuck between your teeth and provides relief for any irritations.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: Combine hydrogen peroxide and water in equal proportions, gently stirring the mixture. Please do NOT swallow the solution. A combination of 3% hydrogen peroxide can help fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and provide comfort.
  • Over-The-Counter (OTC) Painkillers: Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) commonly used for pain relief and inflammation reduction. When administering medication to children, it is important to select a formula that is appropriate for their age and weight. It is recommended that aspirin should not be administered to children under the age of 16. Thankfully, Tylenol can be used as a suitable alternative in such cases.
  • OTC Numbing Treatments: Benzocaine-infused dental gels and liquids are effective in relieving dental discomfort by numbing the gums. Apply a small amount of the product on the tooth and adjacent gum tissue for optimal relieving benefits.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a chilled cloth or ice pack can effectively reduce swelling in the mouth or jaw.

How long does a toothache last?

The duration of a toothache is unpredictable as it depends on the underlying cause. If the toothache is caused by temporary gum irritation, it generally goes away on its own in a day or two. On the other hand, if the toothache comes from a cavity or abscess, the pain may vary but it will continue until it is fully resolved.

How do dentists treat toothaches?

During your visit to the dentist’s office, you will undergo a thorough assessment of your oral health. The dentist will examine your teeth and ask if you have experienced any discomfort or irregularities. In addition, dental professionals may use a dental X-ray to examine any potential issues that may be present beneath the surface of your gums.

There are various options available for the treatment of toothaches. The treatment chosen will be based on the severity of the condition.

Toothache medicine

Toothache symptoms can be temporarily eased with antibiotics and pain relievers, but their effects are short-lived. Simply taking antibiotics to treat an infection does not offer a lasting solution; unless the underlying cause is addressed, the infection is likely to return.

During the wait for your dental appointment, you can reduce discomfort and sensitivity by using over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Dental fillings

If you have a small cavity or if a small part of your tooth has chipped, your dentist will probably suggest getting a dental filling. During this process, the dentist will remove any damaged portions of your tooth and then fill the empty space with a strong dental filling material.

Dental crowns

A dental crown may be required in situations where a cavity or fracture becomes larger. The dental cap is designed to fit the shape of your tooth, providing complete coverage and enhancing its strength while reducing the risk of further damage.

Inlays or Onlays

Sometimes, there are dental problems that are more complex than a filling but not severe enough to require a crown. When faced with this situation, your dentist may suggest an alternative solution called an inlay or onlay. These ceramic restorations are carefully designed to fit into your tooth, blending in seamlessly with your dental composition like a small puzzle piece.

Root canal therapy

A root canal may be required when bacteria enter the tooth pulp through a cavity or crack. This intervention involves the removal of the inflamed nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues within the tooth. Afterward, the dentist cleans the inside of the tooth and fills both the pulp chamber and root canals with an appropriate material. A crown is often recommended alongside a root canal procedure to provide extra protection and support.

Tooth extraction

Dentists often prioritize preserving natural teeth whenever possible, although there are situations where this may not be possible. In cases of severe tooth damage, extraction may be necessary. During this procedure, your dentist will carefully remove the tooth from its socket and eliminate any infection if necessary.

If you require a tooth extraction, it is recommended to seek advice from your dentist to explore possible options for replacement. Once you have fully recovered from the extraction process, your dentist can offer options such as a dental bridge or a dental implant to replace the missing tooth. Furthermore, they have the capability to create a temporary tooth for you to wear while you wait for your permanent replacement.

Can a toothache go away on its own?

Tooth pain can sometimes resolve on its own, especially if it is caused by irritated gums from biting into a hard object. In these instances, it is typical for any discomfort to lessen within one to two days. If you have a toothache that originates from the tooth itself, it typically indicates an underlying issue that requires professional treatment.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, whether it is brief or ongoing, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. By addressing the problem early on, the risk of it getting worse or causing more pain will be effectively reduced.

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