Advice on Dealing with Toothaches from our Issaquah, WA, and Renton, WA, Dentist
Toothaches are never a pleasant experience. Whether the tooth pain comes on slowly or you’re suddenly struck with pain the middle of a conversation, toothaches are never something anybody enjoys putting up with.
If you’re dealing with a toothache, here is some advice on how to relieve the pain and evaluate whether you need to visit a dentist.
Causes of Toothaches
Toothaches or tooth pain can come from many different causes, as simple as chewing gum too frequently or as severe as infected gums. Some of the most common causes of toothaches include:
- Tooth decay: Plaque or tartar that has built up and led to tooth decay in one or more of your teeth can cause mild or significant tooth pain. Your dentist may recommend a filling to clean out the decay and fill the resulting cavity with a composite filling.
- Damaged fillings: If an existing cavity filling in your mouth is damaged, it can lead to tooth pain. This will require your dentist repairing the filling for pain relief.
- Gum infection: Tooth pain can be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis, also known as gum inflammation and gum disease. These can cause bleeding, swelling and soreness in your mouth, eventually leading to tooth loss without proper treatment.
- Broken or fractured tooth: If the fracture is small enough, you may not notice you’ve fractured a tooth until you experience tooth pain. That may indicate you need to get to a dentist for proper treatment of the fracture, such as a crown.
- Repetitive motion: Sometimes teeth can hurt simply from chewing too much or grinding your teeth. If this is the case, work to adjust that behavior or consult with your dentist about a bite guard at night to keep from grinding your teeth.
How to Treat a Toothache
If a toothache is severe and you have to wait awhile before you can get to the dentist, there are some steps you can take by yourself to help relieve the pain. Some initial home remedies for short-term relief include:
- Saltwater rinse: Swish warm saltwater in your mouth and spit it out to clean the affected area.
- Painkillers: Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relief from the pain.
- Ice: Apply a cold compress to your cheek outside the area of tooth pain to help cut down on swelling and relieve pain.
When to Call a Dentist
If a toothache is relatively mild and you’ve only been experiencing it for a few hours, it may be worth holding off on a trip to the dentist to see if it subsides by itself. Sometimes a toothache can stem from a repetitive motion like chewing gum too frequently or can stem from cold foods. In these cases, the pain will likely wear off by itself, saving you a trip to the dentist. But if your toothache lasts longer than a day or two or is extremely severe, you should head to the dentist right away. Some guidelines for when you should have a dentist examine your toothache are:
- If your toothache lasts longer than a day or two
- If your toothache is severe, meaning you are extremely uncomfortable or can’t chew or speak due to the pain
- If the toothaches is accompanied by a fever or headache
- If there is clearly an infected tooth or foul-tasting drainage from the tooth
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call our 24/7 emergency availability today at (425) 392-6466 for the Issaquah office or (425) 228-6444 for our Renton office.