What is a Toothache?
A toothache is a lasting pain that you can feel in or around a tooth or when you apply slight pressure to the tooth’s crown (the top portion of your tooth). There are many reasons a toothache may occur. It can be as simple as getting something stuck in your teeth and needing to floss your teeth to relieve your pain thoroughly. Other causes may be severe and require extensive treatment to fix your teeth. It can be challenging to know how long you should wait before seeing a dentist, which is why I am writing this post to help you understand when a toothache is an emergency or not.
If you have a severe toothache, call me, Dr. Thomas Duffy, at Peninsula Family Dentistry, at (253) 525-2186. We are conveniently located in the Uptown area of Gig Harbor, Washington. We do our very best to offer every patient thorough, compassionate care for their dental health needs,
What Causes a Toothache?
The inside of our teeth is referred to as the pulp. The pulp is filled with blood vessels and nerves. When you damage the pulp of your tooth, you may experience sensitivity and pain ranging from mild to severe. The higher the level of pain, the more likely it is that there is damage to the pulp of your teeth. Some of the main reasons our teeth become damaged are:
- Tooth decay is often a result of a lack of good oral hygiene (regular brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet)
- A dental emergency, such as an abscessed tooth, a broken tooth, or a knocked-out tooth
- Damage from previous dental work
- Infection from built-up plaque and tartar
- Grinding or excessively clenching your teeth (bruxism)
If the pain you are experiencing is tolerable, there are at-home treatments that you can try before coming into our office. We recommend running your finger along your gum line and slightly putting pressure on the crown of your tooth. The pressure will help you determine the amount of pain that exists and, as importantly, which specific spot it is coming from. Call us immediately if you start to experience significant bleeding, severe pain, or swelling.
It is always a welcome relief when home remedies can solve a problem; however, a follow-up appointment may be in order depending upon how severe the problem is or if it continues to occur.
These steps help bring relief to or solve your problem, and they can help you feel better prior to your appointment.
- Swish your mouth with warm saltwater. Saltwater is an antiseptic that should kill any unfriendly bacteria in your mouth, as well as soothe irritated gums. It may also help loosen any food lodged in the pits and fissures of your teeth.
- Thoroughly, but gently, brush and floss your teeth. Sometimes the problem can be as simple as a stuck popcorn kernel. If you have any swelling in your mouth, we recommend using a cold compress. The cold will help reduce inflammation and reduce pain, but be cautious of increasing discomfort if your tooth is already highly cold sensitive.
- For pain, take over-the-counter pain medication according to package directions. Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are great options, as they have both adult and kids dosages. However, if you continue to have pain beyond 48 hours, please call us to help you determine its cause.
If these remedies do not work for you, it is time to come see us. Please give us a call right away so we can get you in ASAP.
At Peninsula Family Dentistry, we strive to maintain a healthy smile for every member of your family!. The best way to prevent any oral pain is through regular dental hygiene. We also recommend keeping up on your twice-a-year visits so we can watch for any problems. If you develop a toothache, try the above at-home remedies. If nothing is working for you, or your pain is increasing, call me at (253) 525-5186 in Gig Harbor, Washington. We are here to help you feel better!