Toothaches are no fun, but what do you do when you have one? And how worried should you really be? As with most things, the best way to prevent tooth pain is to brush and floss twice a day and to get your teeth cleaned at least twice a year. At your regular dental cleanings, your Virtudent dental hygienists will be able to catch small problems before they grow into full-blown pain.
But hey, we all get busy. Maybe you haven’t had a chance to get your dental cleaning in a while. Or maybe you did everything right, but you still managed to get a toothache. Now what?
Don’t panic, we can help.
What kind of toothache pain do you have?
Toothaches are caused by a variety of different factors, so let’s think a little bit more about the type of pain you have.
Is the pain worse when you bite down, or is it constant? Does the pain linger or a short stab of pain? Does it hurt more when you lie down? Is it triggered by hot foods? Cold liquids? Sweets? Take note of what bothers your tooth and when.
If your pain is dull or comes and goes throughout the day, you likely aren’t experiencing an emergency. Next time you see your dental hygienist, let them know where the pain is and what makes it worse. You may have a cavity that needs treatment, or you may have developed sensitivity caused by aggressive brushing or grinding your teeth. Your hygienist can help you figure out the root cause and how to manage your pain.
When toothache pain goes too far
If your toothache is causing ear pain, a fever, or if it’s unbearable to the point of keeping you up at night, then you have more of a toothache emergency. Call your dentist or find one nearby that can see you immediately — that’s today, not next week.
In most toothache emergencies, your dentist will likely take an X-ray and do an exam of the surrounding area to determine exactly what is causing you pain.
With emergency pain, most people opt to begin treatment immediately. Your dentist can offer you a local novocaine injection to temporarily numb the area in the office and antibiotics if the tooth is infected. But remember: neither treat the painful tooth! Both are temporary fixes to help you manage your pain, but you still need to follow your full treatment plan to stop your toothache pain for good.
What can I do while I wait for my appointment?
Once you have a dental appointment on the calendar, you can focus on alleviating your symptoms at home. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help manage pain at home. And while it won’t reduce pain, rinsing with warm salt water will help clean any cavities or erupting wisdom teeth of food debris.
Do your best to implement a good hygiene schedule with twice a day brushing and daily flossing. Often toothaches are the best motivation to stick to a new hygiene schedule! It will definitely help to prevent similar issues in the future.
Want to talk it out with your friendly dental hygienist? Book an appointment with Virtudent to chat toothache pain during your next dental cleaning.