When Should I Be Concerned About a Toothache?

When Should I Be Concerned About a Toothache?

When Should I Be Concerned About a Toothache?

A toothache can range from a slight nuisance to debilitating pain. While any sort of extreme tooth pain will likely leave you calling your dentist for an emergency visit, what about less intense toothaches? Perhaps it’s a lingering ache in your jaw or a swollen gum line or a recurring but minor pain right on a specific tooth. How do you know when you should be concerned and call the dentist? We’ve put together a guide for you on this exact topic to help you know how to proceed when you find yourself facing tooth pain.

Symptoms and Causes of a Toothache

While a toothache can come from a few different things, it generally refers to pain in, on, or near a tooth. The symptoms may be minor, such as a slight pain when pressure is applied directly to the tooth or gross-tasting drainage coming from the tooth in question. In some cases, however, a toothache will be much more concerning, such as when the pain is sharp, stabbing, throbbing, or constant. If the area around your tooth is swollen or the pain inhibits your ability to eat or drink, it should be considered a more serious issue. Additionally, you may experience a fever or headache along with the toothache.

The causes of a toothache can vary, and you may or may not have an idea of what’s bringing on the pain. Tooth decay and cavities are easier to recognize, as they can cause tooth sensitivity when eating something sweet or consuming a hot or cold beverage. Less recognizable culprits include an abscessed tooth, a tooth fracture, a damaged filling, or infected gums. Repetitive motions like excessive gum chewing, biting your nails, or grinding your teeth can lead to pain. And the problem can even be a combination of two or more of these issues.

When to Call the Dentist

If you have a fever, ear pain, or severe pain in your tooth, you should call your dentist right away to try to get a same-day appointment. If you’ve had consistent pain that lasts longer than a day or two, that’s a strong sign to get to the dentist as soon as possible. The most important thing with a toothache is to identify the cause as quickly as possible after the onset of pain. If you can figure out what’s causing it, your dentist can move forward with treatment to remedy the pain in an effective way.

Toothache Treatments

The type of treatment that you’ll receive to fix your toothache is entirely based upon what is causing the toothache in the first place. If you have tooth decay or a damaged filling, your dentist will most likely fill or refill the cavity. If an infection is the cause of your pain, you may need a tooth extraction or root canal, depending on the location and severity of the infection. You may also be prescribed a round of antibiotics to reduce the swelling and get rid of the harmful bacteria.

Toothache Prevention

Whether you’ve recently had a bad toothache or are simply hoping to avoid one in the future, the best course of action is to prevent dental troubles in the first place. Because the majority of toothaches are a direct result of tooth decay and therefore poor dental hygiene, it’s important to brush and floss twice daily to keep your teeth healthy. You should also be sure to keep up with your regular dental cleanings which should take place every six months. Eating less sugar and consuming drinks with little sugar is also best for your teeth, as is drinking more water and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash each day.