If you have a toothache, you may be holding off making a dental appointment in hopes that your discomfort will soon go away. While toothaches are not always serious, they should never be ignored. Depending on the cause of the toothache, you may require immediate dental attention to prevent infection or other problems from developing.
Here’s more about toothaches, what causes them, and what you should do if you have tooth pain.
What Is a Toothache?
As the term suggests, a toothache is pain or discomfort felt in or around a tooth. Toothaches can range from minor discomfort due to temporary gum irritation to more serious tooth infections that require antibiotics prescribed by your Melbourne FL dentist. For a proper diagnosis, it is important to contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule an examination.
What Can Cause a Toothache and Discomfort?
Teeth are made up of several layers, including the outer enamel, followed by the dentin and cementum. The pulp is the tissue in the center of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. When the nerves within the pulp are irritated or become infected due to bacteria, it’s common to experience severe pain.
Many different things can cause a toothache, such as:
- Tooth decay
- A damaged filling
- Abscessed tooth
- Infected gums
- Tooth fracture
- Eruption of a tooth
- Repetitive motions, such as teeth grinding
What are the Symptoms of a Toothache?
If you develop a toothache, the pain may come on slowly or get worse very quickly. Tooth pain can sometimes be throbbing, sharp, or constant. In some cases, a person will only experience tooth pain when pressure is applied, such as when biting down on something.
Other symptoms can also develop as a result of a toothache, such as fever, headache, and swelling around the affected tooth. Some people may experience a bad odor from the mouth or in the case of an infected tooth, foul-tasting drainage. It is important to tell your Melbourne Florida dentist what symptoms you are experiencing.
Information on How Is a Toothache Treated?
If you develop a toothache, contact your dentist as soon as possible to get a professional diagnosis. In the meantime, there are several things you can do at home to get temporary relief.
Start with rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. Stir approximately one-half teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth. The saltwater will help loosen up debris between your teeth and reduce inflammation. You can also rinse with hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution) to help reduce pain and inflammation. Do not swallow.
If you are experiencing pain and swelling, apply a cold compress wrapped in a towel to the painful area and hold for 20-minute intervals. Over-the-counter pain medication can also provide some relief and reduce inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen are often recommended to adults.
Once you arrive at your dental appointment, your dentist will ask questions about your toothache, such as where the pain is located, the severity of the pain, and when it started. Your dentist will also perform an examination to check your teeth, gums, mouth, jaws, throat, tongue, and neck.
Treatment for a toothache is dependent on the cause of the discomfort.
If your dentist discovers that a cavity is causing the toothache, she may recommend filling the cavity or removing the tooth if necessary. If the toothache is an infection of the tooth’s nerve, a root canal may be needed.
After treatment, you’ll want to take the proper measures to prevent further toothaches. Good oral hygiene practices are key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. You’ll also want to visit your dental provider about every six months for a professional cleaning.
Schedule an Appointment Today
The leading cause of toothaches, tooth decay, remains a common problem for people of all ages. According to a publication published in the Journal of Dental Research, untreated cavities are one of the most prevalent conditions worldwide, affecting more than 2.4 billion people.
If you have a toothache or are concerned about your smile, Artistic Touch Dentistry is here to help. Call our office today at (321) 724-1400 to schedule your appointment.