Anyone who’s ever had a toothache knows that “no fun” is an understatement. Toothache is characterized by severe pain or pressure in the tooth or jaw. It sometimes manifests in response to food that’s hot or cold, in which case the pain may survive the stimulus for up to 15 seconds. Pain may become progressively more severe over time as the condition worsens, perhaps spreading to the jaw, cheek, or ear.
Other symptoms might include pain with chewing, discharge or bleeding from teeth and gums, swelling around tooth or swelling of jaw, or other injury or trauma to the area. Symptoms are often associated with gum disease, tooth fractures, or dental decay. Dental decay or inflammation provide visual cues to the source of pain.
It is possible to confuse a toothache with other frequent sources of pain. Ear pain, sinusitis, or injury to the jaw joint are often confused with toothache. Pain from deeper within the mouth or jaw may be referred outward to the tooth. Only a dental expert can clear it up for sure.
Toothaches are generally caused by swelling of the pulp at the center of the tooth, which contains very sensitive nerve endings. Inflammation of the pulp may be caused by cavities, trauma or infection, or by referred pain from the jaw.
Over-the Counter Painkillers
There are a number of short-term toothache remedies you might try while you are waiting for a proper dental appointment. You can try acetaminophen or ibuprofen, following the directions on the package. Asprin can help adults with jaw joint pain, though for children acetaminophen is more appropriate.
Avoid foods at extreme temperatures such as ice cream or soup, since temperature, as noted, can trigger toothache pain. You can also try biting down on a cotton ball soaked in oil of cloves, thyme or vanilla extract, any of which may be found at a chain drug store or convenience store.
For a minor irritation, a salt water rinse and cold compress might be salubrious. Salt water is a natural disinfectant that can help loosen food particles trapped between teeth. A little bit of hydrogen peroxide, no more than 3%, mixed with water can be used as a rinse. It can reduce toothache pain and inflammation, kill bacteria, reduce plaque, and heal bleeding gums.
Make a nice cup of peppermint tea, but save the teabag. Let it cool, though it should still be slightly warm, and place it on the affected area. The teabag should numb tooth pain and soothe inflamed gums.
Garlic can be used to kill the bacteria that cause dental plaque while also acting as a pain reliever. You can try crushing a fresh garlic clove into a paste, adding a pinch of salt, and applying it to the affected area, or you could just chew the clove.
Wheatgrass and guava leaves can also be used in various ways. Wheatgrass has myriad healing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and its juice can be gargled like a mouthwash. Guava leaves have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and can be used to heal wounds. The leaves can be chewed or boiled in water to make a rinse.
When To See A Dentist
When a toothache is severe, does not get better with time, or appears to the result of a serious underlying condition, these home toothache remedies may not suffice. It may be time to schedule a dental appointment. You should definitely also see a dentist if you experience fever, general pain lasting more than a few days, trouble breathing or swallowing, discharge or pus, swollen gums, or pain when biting down.
Depending on the nature of the condition, the dentist might prescribe antibiotics and administer a local anesthetic. Fillings, extractions, root canals or crown procedures might also be performed. Treating pain and infection will be the priority, with the reconstructive operations being done over a period of several weeks or months.
All the patient will have to do afterward is to take any medications or advice the dentist gave him, keep his follow-up appointment, and report any new or worsening symptoms. Beyond this, the patient should eat a healthy, tooth-friendly diet, brush and floss regularly, and go in for regular dental checkups.
Dental Specialty Associates has a large team of dental professionals with decades of experience. We have successfully performed over 1000 surgeries using state of the art technologies, and offer flexible financing for our patients’ schedules. Most importantly, we are compassionate and pride ourselves on outstanding service. We are committed to providing patients with comprehensive, A to Z care that will leave them smiling, every time! To schedule an appointment, call us at (480) 633-9977 in Gilbert or (602) 795-5995 in Phoenix.