woman with toothacheToothaches can range from a slight annoyance to debilitating pain.

When tooth pain strikes, it can be so severe that it’s all-consuming. You can’t think about or do anything else until the pain is relieved.

Here are some common factors for toothaches plus tips available to help prevent issues from developing.  Toothache symptoms can be mild to severe, so you should know how to recognize early signs of tooth pain in order to address the issue before it gets worse.

Finally, if you do develop severe tooth pain, visit our Ottawa dental clinic. We’ll present you with a variety of toothache treatment options, depending on the cause of your tooth pain.

These may include problems like:

Toothache Cause #1: Cavities

When tooth enamel breaks down, a cavity in the surface develops. To prevent infection from spreading, you should visit Parkdale Dental Centre at the first sign of decay.  

Cavity Toothache Symptoms: Tooth discolouration or sweet sensitivity are common symptoms that should be evaluated promptly.

Cavity Toothache Treatments: For small to medium sized cavities a filling may be all that’s required to treat it. The larger the area of the decay, the weaker the tooth.  In this case, our Ottawa dentist may recommend a crown (or cap) to fit over the tooth and protect it.

Cavity Prevention: Some cavities can’t be seen without x-rays, so regular visits to the dentist in Ottawa are important for early detection.  The frequency of X-rays is determined by your personal cavity risk. Regular dental cleanings (the frequency of which is also determined by your gum disease risks) help spot and prevent decay that can become painful.

Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and daily flossing will help prevent cavities from developing.  When combined with avoiding sugary and acidic food or drinks, cavity prevention is maximized.

Toothache Cause #2: Abscessed Teeth

Abscessed Tooth Causes: A dental abscess can develop from a number of causes.  The most common is a cavity that’s been left untreated. As the decay in a tooth worsens, it spreads deeper within the tooth.  Once it reaches the nerve tissue, it gets infected, which can result in swelling (tooth abscess).

Abscessed Tooth Symptoms: You may notice heat sensitivity and pain when chewing or touching the tooth. The discomfort from the tooth pain can be so severe that you wake up from sleep.  In these cases, over the counter pain medications may not provide any relief. A pimple-like bump on the gums, called a fistula may appear, it is a tell-tale sign that there’s an infection.

Abscessed Tooth Treatment: To treat a dental abscess, Parkdale Dental Centre may recommend root canal therapy.  During this procedure, infected nerve tissue will be removed from the tooth. Once the nerve canals are disinfected, they’ll be sealed off to prevent bacteria from re-entering them.

Another option, if a root canal is not the solution, is a tooth extraction to eliminate the infection and the pain.  This will leave a space in your mouth, but you’ll be free of infection and the possibility of recurrence. We have several solutions for you to replace your missing tooth such as a partial removable denture, a bridge or a dental implant.

How to Prevent an Abscessed Tooth: In order to prevent a painful dental abscess, you should visit our Ottawa dentist at the first sign of tooth discomfort, or as soon as you spot a fistula, tooth darkening, or breakage.

You  should take these easy steps to maintain healthy teeth and gums:

  1. Visit your dentist for regular dental check-ups and cleanings
  2. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes
  3. Floss daily
  4. Limit food and drinks that cause cavities
  5. Limit snacks between meal
  6. Have a cracked or loose tooth? Book a dental appointment as soon as possible

Toothache Cause #3: Tooth Traumas & Injuries

Blunt trauma can cause a tooth to break or chip.  Depending on the severity of the hit, nerve damage can occur, causing a severe toothache and the death of the tooth entirely.

Tooth Trauma Treatment: Depending on the severity of the trauma, root canal therapy may be an option here.  In some instances, our Ottawa dentist may recommend a tooth extraction and replacement in the future.   

Tooth Trauma Symptoms: When there is trauma to a tooth, symptoms aren’t always immediately evident.  It could be years after being hit in the mouth that you start to develop tooth pain or visual symptoms like discolouration.

Tooth Trauma Prevention: To help prevent tooth damage, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from impact while playing contact sports.  Do not use your teeth to open packages or use them as “tools”, since this can cause them to break.

Toothache Cause #4: Gum Disease (Periodontitis)

Gum Disease Causes: The roots of teeth are held tightly in place by ligaments between our gums and bone. Severe gum disease causes the attachments and bone to deteriorate, leaving teeth loose and sore. Poor oral hygiene allows plaque to remain on the teeth. When plaque remains on teeth for long periods of time it can calcify or harden and become tartar.  Tartar can be difficult to remove without a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. When dental cleanings are missed, plaque and tartar can lead to gingivitis or even periodontal disease (bone loss).

Gum Disease Treatments: Depending on the stage of the gum disease, treatments range from non-surgical to surgical treatments. Non-surgical treatments include professional dental cleaning (scaling and root planing).  Surgical treatments often involve recontouring the shape of the bone and gums in order to make the area cleansible for you at home.

Gum Disease Symptoms: Gum disease can result in loose teeth and receding gum lines. Chewing is usually very uncomfortable with loose teeth. Red, inflamed and bleeding gums, as well as bad breath, can all be signs of active gum disease.

Periodontal Disease Prevention: To prevent periodontal disease you should brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss daily. Tartar that is difficult to remove with brushing and flossing will be removed during your regular dental cleanings with our Ottawa dentist.

Toothache Cause #5: Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism Causes & How Teeth Grinding Causes Toothaches

Grinding and clenching your teeth can be caused by stress, malocclusion (misaligned teeth and jaws,) or jaw problems. Bruxism puts strain on teeth and can cause several of them to hurt at once.

Teeth Grinding Treatment: Different treatment options are available for this condition and will be dependent on how often and how long it’s been going on. We may recommend medication to relax the muscles, an appliance to prevent the motion, or even orthodontic therapy if there is some type of misalignment causing the issue.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms: If you wake up with sore teeth, a headache, earache, or pain in the jaw, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep.

Teeth Grinding Prevention: A nightguard is an acrylic mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It protects your teeth from damage and painful muscle tension.

Toothache Remedies & Pain Relief

To help reduce your symptoms while you wait to be seen, you can take an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication.  Rinsing with warm salt water can also help soothe discomfort. For pain caused by grinding, an over the counter mouthguard can reduce your symptoms until we fit you for a more long term oral appliance.

Don’t Wait Too Long If Your Have A Toothache

Avoid putting yourself in the position of dealing with a severe toothache by scheduling regular visits with Parkdale Dental Centre. Contact us today to book an appointment!