What To Do If You Have Toothache

Published on February 10, 2021
What To Do If You Have Toothache

What To Do If You Have Toothache

Many of us will experience a toothache at some point - and in most cases, this unpleasant pain in the tooth will be caused by tooth decay or an infection of the tooth or surrounding gums.

In this article, we’re taking a look at the common symptoms of toothache, possible causes of this condition, and what to do if you experience pain or inflammation in your tooth.

What is toothache?

A toothache is a pain or inflammation in or around your tooth. Toothache is usually a sign that something is wrong with your tooth, such as tooth decay, but it can sometimes be caused by a problem elsewhere in your body.

What does a toothache feel like?

Symptoms of a toothache can involve more than just a pain in your tooth. If you’re suffering from a toothache, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Sharp, dull or throbbing pain in your tooth or around the tooth
  • Pain when chewing or putting pressure on the tooth
  • Swelling, soreness or bleeding in the gums around the tooth
  • Painful sensitivity when consuming hot or cold food and drink
  • A headache
  • A high fever
  • Foul-tasting drainage coming from the tooth

What causes toothache?

The most common cause of toothache is tooth decay or an infection of the tooth, gum or jaw.

Some common causes of toothache include:

  • Tooth decay
  • An abscess in the tooth
  • A broken or fractured tooth
  • Swelling or inflammation in the gums (due to impacted food or gum disease)
  • Hypersensitivity to hot, cold, sweet or sticky food or drink
  • Normal growth of new teeth in children

In some cases, toothache can be ‘referred pain’, which means pain resulting from a problem somewhere else in the body. For example, a toothache may be a side effect of sinusitis, as the roots of the upper teeth are located in close proximity to your sinuses.

In rare cases, toothache can be the symptom of a more serious health condition, including heart disease, lung disease, or a heart attack. If you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to your toothache, you should seek emergency treatment immediately:

  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or other signs of a heart attack
  • Wheezing, a persistent cough, or coughing up blood
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing

What should I do if I have a toothache?

If you’re suffering from a toothache, it’s important to see your local National Dental Care Group practitioner to identify and treat the underlying cause. This can help to avoid further problems or complications, such as an infection spreading to other parts of the jaw, face or even the bloodstream.

Until your appointment, the following tips can help you to manage your toothache at home:

  • Keep your mouth clean and free of food
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water and gently brush and floss your teeth
  • If the pain is severe, take an over-the-counter pain killer
  • If you have swelling, use a cold compress on the affected area

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should make an emergency dental appointment with your local National Dental Care Group practice:

  • Pain that lasts longer than 1-2 days
  • Severe pain or pain that starts to become unbearable
  • A fever, earache or pain when you open your mouth wide

How can I prevent toothache?

The best way to reduce your risk of toothache is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. It’s also important to keep up-to-date with your regular dental appointments, so your dentist can identify any oral health problems early on.

To make an appointment with your National Dental Care Group practitioner, book online today.

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