A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth that may be caused by tooth decay, abscessed tooth, tooth fracture, a damaged filling, clenching/ grinding teeth, and infected gums.

However the source of toothache might not be related to teeth, such as gingivitis or periodontitis (inflammation of the jaw bone), and systemic condition that presents itself as toothache, such as, sinusitis, angina pectoris (heart disease), malignant lesion in the jaw, trigeminal neuralgia etc.

The general signs and symptoms of a toothache

    • Pain with chewing
    • Sensitivity to hot or cold air and liquids
    • Bleeding or discharge from around a tooth or gums
    • Swelling around a tooth or swelling of the jaw or cheek
    • Injury or trauma to the area

What Treatments Are Available for a Toothache?

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. Depending on the diagnosis and remaining tooth structure, if toothache is caused by a cavity then the cavity might be filled.  A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling of the jaw.

The best treatment will be a preventative measure.  

  • Seeing your dentist twice a year for dental check-ups and professional cleaning. During check-up, cavities can be identified and treated early before progressing into toothache.  Ask your dentist about preventative procedures, such as sealants and fluoride applications.
  • Healthy diet and drink (low in sugar)
  • Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly at least 2x/day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and flossing daily.

What should I do as a temporary relief? Some home remedies:

  • Salt-water rinse. It is a natural disinfectant, may help loosen food particles and debris that may be stuck in between your teeth, reduce inflammation and heal any oral wounds.  A mix 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt into a glass of warm water and use it as a mouthwash.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medicationssuch as paracetamol or ibuprofen or both. Individuals with toothaches should take these medications as directed for temporary relief prior to professional evaluation.
  • Avoid very cold or hot foods because these may make the pain worse.
  • A home remedy for pain relief is to bite on a cotton ball soaked in oil of clovesCloveoil is available at most drugstores.
  • Applying medicated relief gel like Bonjela to the affected area can provide pain relief in some instances.

See the dentist for their professional advice is the next best option before toothache gets worse, thus needing more complex treatment.

Interesting dentistry facts #4:

  • Teeth are the hardest substance of your entire body. Enamel is a rock-hard mineral! Once damage is sustained, enamel cannot regrow or heal itself. Strengthen your enamel with toothpastes and mouthwashes, and eat plenty of foods containing calcium.
  • Only two thirds of your teeth are visible . The rest is hidden inside your gum. Gums need just as much attention as teeth in your oral health care regime. Plaque left on teeth causes tooth decay. Don’t forget to brush, floss and use mouthwash two to three times a day.