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Toothache: Overview, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Written by Danica Lacson on October 4, 2018

What is Toothache?

Also known as tooth pain, toothache is a pain or discomfort which occurs when the central portion of the tooth known as pulp becomes inflamed. The pain can be mild or extremely painful.

What causes Toothache?

Toothache is often caused by dental problems such as chipped or broken tooth, tooth decay, periodontal diseases, tooth loss, TMD, among others. It can also be experienced after undergoing a dental treatment where the tooth has become sensitive such as a tooth extraction.

However, it can also be triggered by non-dental conditions such as sinus infections, headaches, heart problems, existing health problems like diabetes, viral infections, nerve diseases, among others.

What are the symptoms of Toothache?

  • Persistent pain
  • Inflammation
  • Pain with biting or chewing
  • Severe pain when put under pressure
  • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • Bleeding around a tooth or the gums

How is Toothache treated?

The best way to treat a toothache is to identify its cause. Because the tooth pain can be due to various reasons including non-dental conditions, a proper diagnosis is needed before undergoing treatment.

When should I see my dentist?

You should call or visit your dentist when:

  • The pain continues despite taking over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Swelling of the gums or face
  • Fever
  • Severe pain after a dental treatment like a tooth extraction
  • Broken or cracked tooth
  • Pain of the wisdom tooth
  • Facial rash
  • Jaw pain
  • Trouble with chewing or biting

How is Toothache diagnosed?

Toothache can be diagnosed through a dental checkup. During a dental checkup, your dentist will review your medical and dental history to better understand the triggers behind your pain. He or she will then recommend going through a dental X-Ray to better examine the area. Depending on the diagnosis, the dentist will proceed with the necessary treatment or refer you to a specialist or doctor if needed.

How do I get rid of toothache?

The treatment for your toothache will depend on the diagnosis of your dentist or doctor. If the pain is caused by a tooth decay, you can get a filling to remove the decayed area and fill the space with a restorative material. If the tooth damage is too severe, a root canal or tooth extraction will have to be performed to prevent the bacteria or infection from affecting other teeth or the surrounding structures. Your dentist or doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if fever or swelling has occurred.

How can I prevent Toothache?

Toothache, especially due to dental problems, is preventable with proper oral hygiene and diet.

  • Eating healthy will strengthen your body especially your immune system which is necessary in fighting off bacteria that can cause dental problems and other health issues.
  • Make brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash your daily habits. Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential in ensuring that no food particles or harmful bacteria linger inside your mouth that can lead to infection.
  • Drinking a lot of water is another important habit you should build. Aside from its benefits to overall health, water moistens the mouth and allows for adequate saliva production. Saliva is vital in fighting off bacteria and balancing the acids inside the mouth.
  • Avoid smoking and consuming too much alcohol as they can weaken the immune system and worsen dental problems.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for checkups. Through dental checkups, your dentist can detect early signs of dental problems and start treatment early.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.


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