A toothache can be a miserable experience, causing pain that can feel dull and continuous or throbbing. Tooth pain can occur when you bite or chew on the affected tooth or when you try to enjoy a hot or cold drink. Sometimes the pain can subside on its own, but the underlying problem that is causing it will remain and can flare up at any moment. No matter the type of toothache, it will require proper diagnosis, and the pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.
The sooner you seek professional dental care, the better, so please contact Tandara Dental Centre if you are in pain or discomfort. Prompt dental care can prevent the problem from worsening and prevent more serious complications such as a severe tooth infection, tooth loss, or potentially an infection affecting general health.
Referred toothache can be pain felt in a tooth coming from another tooth but can also be due to non-dental causes like a sinus infection or inflammation, causing the upper back teeth to become uncomfortable or painful. In this case, you may need to see your GP for diagnosis and treatment.
Several different problems can cause toothache, and when you visit our dentist, we can gently examine the affected tooth. We will take dental x-rays if necessary to assess the damage to the tooth and surrounding structures. These x-rays can also help us plan treatment more effectively, helping to relieve the discomfort of toothache more quickly.
Some of the potential causes of toothache are listed below, along with a brief description of how we might be able to help you.
Usually, your teeth are protected by tooth enamel, but if bacteria have penetrated the enamel, it can expose the dentine underneath, a far softer substance that is quickly eroded by these bacteria, causing a cavity. At this stage you may also feel increased tooth sensitivity, especially when eating anything hot or cold. Eventually, the cavity can reach the dental pulp containing the tooth nerve, which is why an untreated cavity causes toothache.
When you visit Tandara Dental Centre, we can quickly diagnose a cavity and treat tooth decay which hasn’t reached the nerve with a filling. A dental filling replaces the missing part of the tooth, preventing further bacteria from entering the tooth and getting rid of toothache.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria present in dental plaque, a sticky biofilm that gradually coats your teeth between brushing and flossing. These bacteria can infect and inflame your gums, eventually destroying the bone around your teeth. Consequently, teeth become loose and begin to ache.
Ideally, if you visit our dentist regularly, we will detect the early signs of gum disease and can provide treatment before you experience any gum or tooth pain. If you have more advanced gum disease, we can deep clean your teeth, removing bacteria from deep in your gums. Topical medication can also help to eliminate bacteria more effectively. Sometimes, minor surgery is needed to help prevent further gum recession and bone loss from around your teeth. The treatment makes it easier to keep your gums clean.
If a cavity in a tooth is especially deep, the dental pulp can become infected, leading to severe toothache. The infection can spread from the dental pulp into the tooth roots. Common signs include toothache and increased tooth sensitivity, and a small pimple can develop on the gum, which oozes pus when pressed.
An abscess cannot clear up on its own and needs endodontic treatment (root canal therapy) to repair it. Root canal therapy cleans the inside of the tooth, including the root canals in the tooth roots, getting rid of the infection so the tooth can be restored, usually with a dental crown. Treatment should feel no worse than having a filling. It is an intricate process that takes several appointments to complete, as we need to make sure the infection is eliminated before we permanently fill and restore the tooth. However, root canal therapy can be very effective in saving a tooth from extraction and soon relieve pain.
Wisdom Tooth Pain
Wisdom teeth can often cause problems, including bleeding gums, jaw pain and persistent bad breath. Another common sign is frequent sore throats. These problems occur because there is often insufficient room for wisdom teeth to erupt fully. Consequently, they may partially erupt or are impacted and are more at risk of becoming infected or can damage the adjacent teeth due to overcrowding.
We keep a close eye on the development of wisdom teeth, and if you need these teeth removed, you don’t need to worry, as wisdom tooth removal is quite a common procedure. Our dentist is very experienced in wisdom tooth removal and will ensure you have a pain-free experience. Usually, we will remove all four wisdom teeth during the same appointment and provide Happy Gas or sleep dentistry if required.
Why Does the Pain Feel Worse at Night?
Toothache can worsen at night when you lie down, as more blood can flow to your head, potentially increasing the pain and pressure that can worsen tooth pain. If a sinus infection causes the pain, lying down can prevent the sinuses from draining, so it can be helpful to elevate your pillow.
Can a Tooth Always Be Saved?
We try hard to save natural teeth because your own teeth are always the best solution, but unfortunately, it isn’t always possible. Sometimes we need to extract a severely infected tooth to allow the infection to drain. Other times, a tooth might be too badly broken due to severe decay or trauma or because of severe gum disease.
If you need a tooth removed, we take tremendous care to ensure you feel comfortable, and the actual process is quite quick. We use local anaesthetic to numb the tooth and specialised instruments to remove it.
When to See an Emergency Dentist?
A severe toothache can require urgent dental care, and we are here to help, providing emergency toothache relief. You need to see an emergency dentist if you have a severely infected tooth causing facial swelling, high fever and a general sense of being unwell. The infection caused by a badly abscessed tooth can spread from the tooth to your body. In the worst case, it could become life-threatening.
There are several home remedies for toothache to try while you wait for professional dental care. These include:
- Over the counter pain relief can provide temporary relief. If a child has a toothache, make sure the dosage is safe and appropriate for their age.
- Using sensitive toothpaste for sensitivity can relieve symptoms caused when eating or drinking hot and cold foods.
- Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can soothe pain and reduce swelling. Children should not be given this remedy as they could accidentally swallow it.
- Use an ice pack pressed against your cheek but don’t place ice directly on the tooth as it could aggravate any tooth sensitivity.
- Dilute equal parts of hydrogen peroxide with water and swish around your mouth as this can help relieve gum infections. This toothache remedy isn’t suitable for children in case they swallow it.
- Cloves contain eugenol, an analgesic that can help relieve tooth pain. You can use ground cloves to make a paste that you apply to the tooth, but clove oil isn’t recommended. This remedy isn’t suitable for children.
- Peppermint tea contains antioxidants and antibacterial compounds and can provide some temporary relief. Sipping a warm cup of tea can also be comforting.
These remedies are not toothache cures but will help tide you over until you can see our dentist. Receiving professional dental care that addresses the underlying reason for tooth pain is the only way to get rid of toothache properly.
Tandara Dental Centre can offer you immediate advice no matter the hour or day for your dental emergency. We know dental emergencies frequently happen out of hours and make every effort to see patients in pain and discomfort on the same day. When you contact us, we can book an appointment and offer advice over the phone on how to care for your tooth until we can provide emergency toothache relief.