Toothaches can happen even with the best oral care, and it can be difficult to determine the source of the pain. Toothaches, including sensitivity and tenderness, can make it difficult to eat and speak normally or even to concentrate. While some toothaches can be treated at home, some may require professional dental care.
Whether it’s a sharp pain, a dull throbbing, or just general discomfort, the dentists at Bright Now! Dental can help relieve your toothache. Our multiple locations, flexible hours, and affordable prices make it fast, convenient, and affordable for you to receive the treatment you need to feel better, from fillings and root canals to wisdom teeth extractions.
What causes toothaches?
Toothaches develop as a result of damage to the tooth or the oral tissue. They can also be a sign of inflammation or infection.
Only a dentist can determine the exact cause of your toothache, and while there are many things that can cause a toothache, here are some of the most common.
- Cavities. When a cavity first develops on the surface of a tooth, it typically does not cause any pain and it can be hard to detect. However, as the cavity progresses and penetrates the layers of the tooth, it begins to cause damage to the tooth, its dental pulp, and its nerves, causing sensitivity, pain, and discomfort.
- Dental abscess. A dental abscess can occur when a tooth root becomes infected. Infections like this typically start with a cavity or poor hygiene, but they can also develop as a result of injury or other health condition. Dental abscesses appear as pus-filled sores in the gums and can spread to other parts of the body if they aren’t treated.
- Irritated or receding gums. If you’re experiencing a toothache radiating from below the tooth, you may be experiencing a side effect of gingivitis or early gum disease. As swollen and irritated gums become more inflamed, they begin to recede from the teeth, creating periodontal “pockets” that expose the more sensitive parts of the tooth, including its roots and nerves.
- Cracked or chipped teeth. When a tooth cracks, chips, or sustains some other kind of damage, it may affect the structure of the tooth below the gums. If a chipped tooth is causing pain and discomfort well after the injury occurs, that is a sign that the damage could be below the gums and you should schedule a dentist appointment immediately for an evaluation or x-ray.
- Overcrowding. If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort from multiple areas in your mouth for a prolonged period, teeth overcrowding could be the cause. Crowded teeth put more pressure on the jaws and facial bones, making your teeth feel sore and achy. This is common in young adults, when wisdom teeth try to erupt, crowding an already fully-developed mouth or becoming impacted in the process.
How do I treat a toothache?
If you have a toothache, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause, because that will largely determine what kind of treatment you need. Depending on the source of your pain, your toothache may not resolve on its own and may require treatment. Cavities and infected teeth, for example, must be treated with fillings and root canals, while damaged teeth will need restorative procedures to return them to their full strength and functionality. Advanced stages of gum disease will need periodontal treatment and wisdom teeth will likely need extraction.
However, there are some steps you can take to address your toothache while you wait for your dental appointment.
- Apply ice to the source of the toothache. Applying an ice pack to the area of the toothache can help minimize pain and discomfort and reduce swelling.
- Over-the-counter pain medication. Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen can also help reduce pain and swelling and make daily tasks like speaking or eating a little more bearable.
- Avoid very hard, crunchy, sticky, or sweet foods. Foods like these can exacerbate already sensitive teeth and cause sharp pain, if not more damage. Stick to a soft diet if you can.
- Keep the area clean. Do your best to keep the area clean with gentle brushing or rinsing with a saltwater solution.
Can I prevent a toothache?
Good oral hygiene and routine dental checkups and cleanings are the best ways to prevent toothaches. That includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day, following a diet low in sugar, and visiting your dentist at least every 6 months. Even if you do develop a problem–such as a cavity or gingivitis–it can be caught and treated early before it causes pain or more serious issues.
You can also prevent toothaches by preventing the damage in the first place with mouth guards and other protective equipment if you are playing contact sports. Avoid using your teeth to open things, and try not to crunch on ice, plastic, or other very hard objects that could damage your teeth.
Trust Bright Now! Dental for Your Toothache Relief
It’s hard to troubleshoot a toothache on your own. At Bright Now! Dental, you’ll find all the services you need to determine the cause of your toothache and relieve the pain, all at one convenient location.
No one deserves to live with toothache pain, so Bright Now! Dental works hard to make getting the care you need affordable. We accept most major dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit, and we offer our own OneSmile Dental plan, which provides members with free exams and x-rays in addition to discounts on all dental services.
Take care of your toothache today by scheduling an appointment at the Bright Now! Dental location nearest you and start smiling brighter!