Toothaches can be a sign of something serious.
Compared to the rest of our bodies, a tooth is pretty small. And even though you have 32 teeth in your adult mouth, a toothache in just one can be quite crippling. Most tooth pain results from pulp inflammation, which contains many nerve endings that are highly subject to sensitivity and pain. Thus, when we get a popcorn kernel stuck in our gums or have a broken tooth, it can cause an awful toothache.
What causes tooth pain?
Before we get into details on what you need to do when you have a toothache, let’s talk about what causes this unbearable pain and discomfort. Tooth pain is expected when the nerve in the root of a tooth or around the tooth becomes irritated. Tooth loss, infection, injury, tooth extraction, or decay are frequent causes of tooth pain.
Sometimes the pain originates from the jaw or other areas. In these cases, the most common causes come from the temporomandibular joint (jaw joint), ear pain, your sinuses, and heart problems, though this is less common. The bacteria that grow inside your mouth can lead to gum disease and dental decay, both of which are associated with a toothache.
Signs and Symptoms That You Have a Toothache
It may seem obvious when you have a toothache, but frequently we will assume that mouth pain is due to something else. It is essential to understand that a toothache is something that you should plan to treat, and therefore you should understand the signs and symptoms. You may experience pain or pressure in the mouth when your teeth are exposed to hot or cold stimuli, and the pain will often linger for a while even after the trigger has been removed. As inflammation increases, the pain worsens and can radiate to your cheeks, jaw, or ears.
Common signs and symptoms of a toothache include the following:
- Sudden and sharp pain, making it feel as though your tooth or gums are being stabbed with a sharp object
- Throbbing around a tooth
- Pain while chewing or biting down on foods
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Bleeding or discharge coming from your jaw or the area surrounding your tooth, when you are brushing your teeth or otherwise
- Swelling or irritation of your jaw or the area surrounding your mouth
- Injury or trauma to a part of your mouth
Fever and chills that accompany a toothache may mean that you have a severe infection that should be treated by a dentist without delay.
How to Prevent a Toothache
Practicing proper oral care and hygiene is the best way to prevent a toothache from occurring in the first place. Most toothaches are caused by tooth decay. So, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily and also after eating popcorn or if you feel that something is stuck between your teeth. See your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and oral assessment.
You can also lessen your risk of tooth decay and a resulting toothache by consuming low sugar foods. And, at your next appointment, ask Dr. Alhadef about sealants and fluoride applications.
When to Call a Dentist About Tooth Pain
We understand that life can be busy, and you may wonder when you should call a dentist about your toothache. There are times, however, when a call to an emergency dentist is necessary. If you are experiencing swelling of the gums or facial area, have severe pain, and have a discharge coming from your mouth, you should see an emergency dentist right away. An infection or tooth abscess can be a sign of a severe dental emergency.
If you are an adult and have experienced the loss of a tooth, this is also an indicator that you should see a dentist right away. Getting to an emergency dentist quickly after a tooth loss will increase your chances of the issue being corrected. Thus, if you have severe bleeding from your mouth, have lost a tooth, or are experiencing severe pain, you should immediately see a doctor or emergency dentist.
Call Dr. Alhadef if you have a toothache.
If you are experiencing a toothache and are not sure if it is a dental emergency or not, give us a call. If you believe that your toothache can wait, you can make an appointment with Dr. Alhadef using our convenient online form.
In the meantime, try one of these home remedies to make you more comfortable before your appointment for your toothache.
- Use a saltwater or hydrogen peroxide rinse to help kill bacteria in your mouth and lessen your risk of infection.
- Apply a cooled peppermint tea bag to the painful area.
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area, especially if your toothache has caused a headache.
By getting on our calendar and trying some at-home remedies, your toothache can become more manageable. But no matter how well these home remedies work for you, the best course of action is to call. A quick conversation about your symptoms and how you are feeling can help us determine the best next steps and type of treatment.