Toothache: What to do
Toothaches come and go, sometimes seemingly without any reason. But don’t let the transient nature of a toothache pain fool you. It’s usually a clear sign that something’s seriously wrong with your teeth. The severity of a toothache can range from chronic and mild to sharp and excruciating. The pain may be aggravated by chewing or by cold or heat.
A toothache can be caused by sensitivity to hot or cold or a more serious problem like a dental cavity, dental abscess, a cracked/fractured tooth, an exposed tooth root or gum disease. One thing’s for sure: If you’ve had a bad toothache for more than a couple of days, you should see your dentist!
Q: Isn’t it normal to have a toothache now and then?
A: Most people occasionally have mild toothaches, particularly when consuming hot or cold drinks or food. This is the type of toothache pain that may not necessarily be a cause for worry. Sometimes, a toothache may be caused by a problem not originating from a tooth or the jaw. Pain around the teeth and the jaws can be symptoms of ear infection or sinuses. But a bad toothache — the kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night, throbs all day, or lasts for more than a couple of days — could mean that a more serious problem exists. The worst thing to do is sit around wishing a toothache away. The best thing to do is visit the dentist for help.
Q: I had a toothache, but it went away. Should I still see a dentist?
A: It’s never a good idea to gamble with your dental health. So even if you think a toothache was mild, only a dentist can make a proper diagnosis. Pick up the phone and call your dentist – it only takes a few minutes.He or she will likely ask you a series of questions: Was the toothache pain gnawing or throbbing? Did the toothache last a whole day or just for a moment? Can you see holes in the tooth that’s causing pain? Do you have swollen gums or neck glands? Depending on the answers, your dentist may ask you to come in for an exam.
Q: Is it OK to take over-the-counter pain relievers for a toothache?
A: Unless you have been advised by a physician to avoid OTC pain relievers, most dentists recommend taking pain medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen as instructed. But if an OTC pain reliever doesn’t help alleviate toothache pain, that’s a good sign you need to actually see a dentist.
Q: How will my dentist treat my toothache?
It will depend on what is the cause of your toothache. If it’s a large cavity which has not reached the nerve of the tooth, then most likely a dental filling will take care of the problem. But if your toothache is caused by the cavity which has reached the nerve, then you will need a root canal.
Q: What can I do to prevent a toothache?
The best prevention is a good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. Good oral care means brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. You also need to have a dental checkup and a professional cleaning twice a year. This will assure you that any dental problems are caught early and you will prevent a toothache.
Q: Can I put aspirin on my tooth?
No, aspirin can actually burn your gums and cause more damage. It’s best to actually swallow the aspirin.
Here is a video about Why do my teeth hurt?
By: Ladan Zinati