What Does Your Toothache Mean?

seeing a dentist about a toothache

If you have been feeling pain in your mouth in the form of a toothache, it can indicate severe tooth decay. Pain is a way for your body to signal you that something is wrong. A healthy mouth doesn’t have pains without a reason. When you get a toothache, you usually have a constant or intermittent ache that doesn’t go away on its own. Without proper dental care, that toothache can get worse and worse. Brushing and flossing your teeth can help reduce your risk for tooth and gum problems that lead to toothaches and tooth decay. We can help treat your toothache and provide you dental services to remove tooth decay when you get it. Learn more about what your toothache means and what you can do about it!

 

Why You Get Toothaches

There are many reasons that patients get toothaches. Each patient will be different, but a general rule is that a toothache signals that something is amiss in your mouth. Toothaches should never be a common occurrence.

  • Injury. Biting down on hard foods (or even something like ice) can chip, crack or break a tooth. With a chip or crack, you will have a toothache and with a break, you will probably have severe pain.
  • Tooth decay. Surface cavities may not hurt. However, cavities that get inside your tooth (where nerves and blood vessels lie) will cause you pain.
  • Stuck food. If you eat chips or hard foods that break easily, you could have a piece of food lodged in one of your gums. Flossing the area to remove the food particle could solve your toothache problem.
  • Winter cold air. More patients get toothaches in the winter. This is because there is a dramatic change in temperature in many areas and the cold will bother your teeth.
  • Gum recession. Many people will have slight gum recession due to plaque or tartar buildup. Other people have gum disease which causes major gum recession. This exposes part of your tooth root that is very sensitive to hot and cold. If you notice you have pain and sensitivity when drinking hot and cold drinks, your tooth root is exposed.
  • TMJ or bruxism. If you grind or clench your teeth during the night, you will end up with tooth pain and headaches throughout the day. If you have these symptoms it is generally bruxism (grinding) or TMJ. TMJ is when you have joint dysfunction in your jaw joint that causes you pain. A dentist can help remedy both of these problems.

 

woman with a toothache

Remedy a Toothache

When you have a toothache, the best remedy is to come into our office and receive help from the dentist. Only a dentist can pinpoint the exact reason that you have a toothache and what you can do about it. Some aches are very painful—so much so that it is difficult to get through your day. Other aches come and go. The cause of your toothache will determine how quickly it goes away. If you think you’ve cracked, chipped or broken a tooth, you will definitely have to come into the office to remedy the problem. Call us as soon as possible if this is the case. Hard foods can break or crack a tooth, which will lead to infection quickly if your tooth isn’t fixed.

 

What if you can’t come in to the dentist immediately? Do what you can at home while you wait to come to our office. Your teeth may simply be sensitive to hot and cold. If that is the case, limit how many hot or cold beverages you drink and use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Use a cold compress at home and place it on the outside of your cheek where the tooth is hurting. Use this 15-20 minutes on and 15-20 minutes off. Salt water rinses can also temporarily help relieve some of the swollen gums and ache that you have. We don’t want you to be in pain as you wait to get into our office as well, so take an over-the-counter pain-killer such as Tylenol. Whatever you do, NEVER rub aspirin on the area of your gums that hurt, or you will end up with burns and other problems you don’t want to have.

 

Dental Extractions

We try all that we can to remove your tooth decay and repair the damage before it becomes severe. A cavity filling can generally do the trick. For larger cavities, we might need to do a root canal. This is where we open up your tooth and completely clean out all the infection and decay. We clean all the way down to your tooth roots and fill them so that your tooth stays intact and strong once more. If we find that you have severe tooth decay or infection in your tooth, our last resort is a dental extraction. This is where we take out your tooth if it is too damaged for repair or has infection that is in the center of your tooth.

toothache

Stop the Ache

A toothache may mean you have something small that is bothering your tooth. Or it could mean you have severe tooth decay or infection. We try all that we can to remedy your toothache before turning to a dental extraction or similar procedure. No matter the cause, it’s always best for your dental health to seek help and stop the ache. You can significantly reduce your risk for toothaches if you take care of your teeth through proper oral health habits and don’t chew on hard foods that could break a tooth. If you have a toothache, don’t hesitate to get help! Call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies at (970) 223-8425 and stop your tooth pain today.

 

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