What To Do with a Toothache


Most patients will eventually have a toothache at some time or another throughout their life. This tooth pain can be a result of sensitivity to hot or cold drinks and foods, or it could be an indication of a more serious problem. We always recommend coming to see us if you have a toothache. Inside each tooth are delicate tooth nerves that help your body to know if something is wrong. If decay, a fracture, or other problem is present, your tooth will begin to ache. For some patients, the problem is easily correctable. For other patients, we must perform a root canal, tooth extraction, or other service depending on the cause. Find out what you can do to help a toothache at home and what we can do for you at our dental office to help you be pain-free once more.


What Causes a Toothache?

There are various reasons that you may have a toothache, and the cause might not even have anything to do with your teeth. In most cases, however, a toothache happens because there is some level of tooth decay in your tooth. This means that you probably have a cavity inside your tooth that has become large enough to cause you pain. The soft, pulpy center of your tooth is susceptible to fast decay once a cavity has begun to form. You may be fine at one dental checkup and then have a large cavity at your next checkup. Be sure to especially take care of your molar teeth (or back teeth), as these are the teeth that get toothaches the most.


You may be experiencing tooth pain in the form of sensitivity. This sensitivity will happen if you drink or eat hot or cold things. If you have random, sporadic tooth pain, track it over time and see if it has something to do with heat or cold. This can be causing your pain. Although a less common cause, a sinus infection can also cause your teeth to ache. However, with a sinus infection, there will be more than one tooth in pain, or an entire side of your mouth that hurts.


What Should You Do?

The first thing you should do is call the dentist and schedule an appointment to come into the office. If you tooth is showing signs of pain, it could signal that there is tooth decay inside the tooth. However, cavities are not the only causes of toothaches, so the remedy for your pain might be quite simple. While you are waiting to be seen at our office, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth, as this will be gentler on the area that is sensitive. You should use a toothpaste specifically made for sensitivity as well.


It may seem obvious, but don’t chew on hard foods where you have a toothache. If tooth decay is causing your pain, this could cause the tooth to chip, crack, or break. In fact, if you have sharp pain while chewing or biting, it could be a sign that you already have a cracked tooth (or a cavity).


Common Dental Emergencies

A toothache is a common dental emergency that happens to many people. When you get one, you should see us as soon as possible. Most patients feel a sharp or throbbing pain that tends to be constant. Others will only experience pain when pressure is applied to the tooth (such as with chewing food). You gums may also swell, you may get headaches, or have a bad taste in your mouth. If the latter is the case, you probably have an infection. An infection is a dental emergency, as infections can get into your bloodstream and make you sick very quickly.


Common dental emergencies arise from playing sports. Athletes break or knock out their teeth with contact sports. However, you may crack, fracture, or break a tooth by simply eating food that is too hard. Even chewing on nuts can break a tooth. If you do break a tooth, recover any broken tooth fragments, keep those fragments submerged in water and seek immediate dental attention. A cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek is also considered a dental emergency as is broken braces and wires that could hurt your mouth.


Remedies for Aches and Pains

If you are experiencing a toothache, make an appointment with us immediately. You don’t want to “wait it out” and see if it gets better. It’s always smarter to have an appointment set ahead of time that you can cancel later on if your pain goes away. For severe decay that’s causing your toothache, we can find your cavity and remove it. This will require a dental filling or a root canal depending on the severity. If decay is severe, it may also require a dental crown to keep your smile strong and intact. For tooth sensitivity, we have topical treatments we can use to cover your tooth and prevent that sensitivity.


Seek Help for Your Tooth Pain

If you have tooth pain, seek out help. Don’t let the problem get worse or it could mean losing your tooth! We have many treatments to help relieve your pain and restore your healthy, beautiful smile once more. If you start to get a toothache, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-8425!