Toothaches are annoying, but they can also be debilitating, distracting you from your daily life and making it difficult to eat or drink. Thankfully, they are very treatable and may not even require a visit to the dentist! Here is a quick guide to understanding what might cause your toothache, what you can do about it, and when to see a dentist.
Symptoms and Causes
A toothache is any pain in your gum or around a tooth. It can be throbbing, stinging, or a constant ache. You may also notice light bleeding from your gums. In more severe cases, you’ll notice swelling or foul-tasting drainage.
Toothaches are typically internal or external in nature. Internal damage can be anything from a cavity to an abscess; external damage can be caused by brushing too hard or by grinding your teeth, common in anxious or overstressed individuals. They can also be a secondary result of an infection in your gums.
Toothaches are normal in children, and considered part of their tooth development.
When Is a Toothache Serious?
The good news is that most toothaches are temporary and will heal on their own. However, they can be signs of something much more serious. Seek immediate help from a dentist if you experience:
- Oozing pus or liquid around the ache
- Fever or chills
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Intense pain that lasts longer than a couple of days
An infection in a tooth or your gums is very serious, and can lead to dangerous complications if untreated.
How Can You Treat a Toothache?
If your toothache doesn’t warrant a trip to the dentist, home remedies are easy. You can try:
- NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.
- A 1:1 mixture of hydrogen peroxide or ½ teaspoon of salt in warm water can help disinfect the area and reduce inflammation.
- Cold compress. Wrap a sandwich bag full of ice in a towel and press it gently on affected area for around 20 minutes at a time.
The most effective treatment for toothaches, however, is prevention! Make sure to brush and floss on a regular schedule, and to use a quality toothpaste and toothbrush.
Need to see a dentist for a toothache? Klooster Family Dentistry offers convenient locations in both Holly Springs and Raleigh! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.