In this blog post, you’re going to learn about what can you do for a toothache, along with common toothache causes and when to see your dentist.
Possible Toothache Causes
Depending on your toothache symptoms, duration, and severity, your tooth pain could come from several different causes.
Some of the most common reasons include:
- Untreated cavities
- Cracked or abscessed teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Sinus infections
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Leaky fillings
- New tooth decay
- Gum recession
- Impacted teeth
- Whitening products
Keep a record of your tooth pain, noting the discomfort severity on a scale of 1-10, possible triggers (such as specific types of food you eat), and the duration of your discomfort. Once you notice a pattern, it will be easier for you to pinpoint your toothache’s cause and determine the best treatment plan.
How Long Do Toothaches Last?
Any type of toothache that’s due to diseases — such as an abscess or decay — will continue to last until the nerve of the tooth dies and stops transmitting sensations from the tooth to adjacent nerves. If your toothache is because of something like the toothpaste you’re using (some people don’t respond well to whitening blends) or a sinus infection, the symptoms are easily reversible in a matter of a week or so.
Pain that interferes with eating, drinking, or even being able to go to work (or school) means something significant is going on. Don’t try to “wait it out” in hopes of the symptoms getting any better on their own. Dental infections related to decay or abscesses don’t heal with time; instead, they become worse and more complex. If tooth pain continually worsens or lasts more than a few days, there’s likely something significant going on in your mouth, and you should see your dentist right away or as soon as possible.
How to Get Rid of a Toothache
If you have a toothache, you should:
- Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, if you are medically cleared to do so. Since swelling is one of the underlying causes of toothache pain, you should see some temporary relief. Take all medication as directed.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to alleviate any swelling related to your gums. A teaspoon of table salt in a tall glass of water is sufficient. Allow the solution to fully dilute and then rinse vigorously. Repeat the process until you’ve used the entire glass. You can do this 2-3 times per day if necessary.
- Brush and floss around your tooth, checking to see if there is something stuck under the gums or between your teeth (such as food debris.) It can help to tie a knot in your floss and gently tug it through that space, making it easier to grab any larger food impactions.
- Check your oral care products. If you’re using a whitening gel or toothpaste, put it away for a few days to see if symptoms improve. Try using a toothpaste formulated for sensitivity instead. Keep in mind that sensitivity products require everyday use and may take up to two weeks before you see full results.
- If you have allergies or a possible sinus infection, treat those conditions accordingly. This could alleviate any pressure against your upper teeth (which may mimic toothaches.)
- See a dentist. When you see a dentist, you will have your tooth, the affected area, and mouth evaluated. They will review your symptoms, and help you determine the specific cause of the pain. That way, you can make an informed decision on the most appropriate long-term solution for your toothache.
What to Take for A Toothache
Swelling or inflammation inside of or around your tooth attributes to most tooth pain. That’s why non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (called “NSAIDs”) like ibuprofen or Motrin are typically recommended when deciding on what to use for tooth pain. Reducing the swelling can temporarily offer pain relief.
Ultimately any at-home toothache remedies will only provide temporary relief. You should have active infections such as tooth decay or periodontal disease treated professionally. Early intervention will minimise the time and costs involved in saving your smile before the infection expands into additional teeth.
When to See the Dentist for Your Toothache
Call your dentist if you:
- Are in severe pain
- Cannot eat or drink
- Are unable to go to work/school
- See visible physical damage to your tooth
- Experience symptoms for more than a couple of days
When you visit Parkdale Dental Centre, we’ll take a digital X-ray of the tooth to evaluate the root and areas surrounding it. Issues such as abscesses, decay, or bone loss are usually quickly identified. Understanding the specific cause of your toothache allows us to recommend the most appropriate care plan so that you can get relief as quickly as possible.
If you’re in severe pain, the first thing your dentist will do is numb your tooth and get you comfortable. Once you’re pain-free, we can determine what needs to happen next. Sometimes a temporary solution is best, and then we’ll arrange to have you come back for a permanent restoration.
Dental Treatment for Toothaches
The best dental treatment for a toothache will depend on the underlying cause of your pain. Perhaps you only need to change toothpaste and have a desensitizing treatment applied. The pain may be from a small cavity that needs to be cleaned out and filled. On the other hand, aggressive gum disease may require deep cleanings to remove the bacteria around your teeth and possible gum surgery. If you have physical damage to the tooth itself, depending on the extent of the problem, there are a number of different solutions including: a filling, a root canal or a crown.
Tooth Pain Help In Ottawa
Parkdale Dental Centre offers dental emergency visits and toothache relief for patients of all ages. Same-day appointments are available for people experiencing severe dental pain. We’re happy to accommodate your needs and get you out of pain as quickly as possible. Together, we’ll craft a care plan that fits your unique smile and lifestyle needs. Even if you don’t need to be seen right away, we can talk you through what to do for pain relief before your scheduled visit.
Call Parkdale Dental Centre today to request an appointment.