Toothaches can be a minor tinge letting you know that something is wrong or they can cause crippling pain… that’s why we wanted to share some common toothache causes and their symptoms.
What is a toothache? Pain or inflammation in or around the tooth, often caused by tooth decay or infection.
What are common causes of a toothache?
A toothache can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Examples may include flossing, biting into something hard, getting something stuck in between the teeth, or braces. In children, it’s a regular part of the developmental process.
Common Causes of a Toothache:
- Tooth decay
- Tooth fracture
- Broken tooth
- Abscessed tooth
- Infected gums
- Damaged filling
- Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth
Common Symptoms of a Toothache:
- Tooth pain that may be sharp, throbbing, or constant.
- In some people, pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth.
- Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth
- Swelling around the tooth
- Fever or headache
When Should I See a Dentist About a Toothache?
We recommend seeing your dentist as soon as possible about your toothache if:
- Your toothache is severe
- You have a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
- You have a fever, earache
- You experience pain upon opening your mouth wide
What Happens When I Go to the Dentist for a Toothache?
First, your dentist will conduct a dental exam. He or she will ask you questions about the pain, such as:
- when the pain started
- how severe it is
- where the pain is located
- what makes the pain worse and what makes it better
- does the pain wake you up in the middle of the night
Your dentist will examine:
- your mouth
- teeth and gums
- sinuses, ears, nose, and neck
X-rays may be taken as well as other tests, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing your toothache.
What Treatments Are Available for a Toothache?
Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, but only if there is no other way to save the tooth.
A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner areas of the tooth cause that type of infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling in the jaw.
Related Article: Revealing the Facts and Busting the Myths about Root Canals
How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?
Since most toothaches are the result of tooth decay, following good oral hygiene practices can prevent most toothaches.
Good oral hygiene practices consist of:
- brushing regularly with a fluoride-containing toothpaste
- flossing daily
- rinsing once or twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash
- seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning and exam
In addition to these practices, ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride applications and make low-sugar or healthy choices on snacks, meals and beverages.
We Can Get You Out of Pain
Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventative, restorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.