“Ouch” and “hurt” are not strong enough words to describe an excruciating toothache. When your tooth or jaw hurts, all you want to do is make the pain go away. Here’s how to know if you have a toothache, how to treat the pain at home, and when you should see a dentist so you can start to feel better and make that toothache (and the pain) a distant memory.
What are the symptoms of a toothache?
Pain is just one symptom of a toothache; there are other reasons why your teeth hurt. Toothaches can be caused by a variety of oral problems, such as an infection, decay, or tooth fracture. Depending on the source, other symptoms of a toothache may include a fever, swelling, or an odd taste in your mouth. The pain can be sharp or throbbing, and usually only occurs when pressure is applied to the tooth.
How can I make the toothache pain go away?
Because there could be a host of different issues causing your toothache, don’t try to diagnose the cause of the toothache. Instead, treat the pain with these tips that’ll make the pain subside.
- Apply an ice pack to the cheek on the side of your toothache.
- Because your toothache could be caused by an infection, do not use heat as it could make the problem worse.
- Don’t eat or drink anything that makes the toothache more painful.
- Avoid anything that can vibrate your teeth and make it feel worse.
- Purchase and use over-the-counter medications that can treat the toothache, but make sure follow the directions on the label exactly.
When should I call the dentist about my toothache?
Don’t hesitate to contact a dentist if:
- The pain persists for more than a day and does not get better with over-the-counter medications.
- You had a tooth pulled in the past 24-72 hours. Your pain could come from a condition called dry socket which needs to be treated by a dentist.
- There is discharge or excessive swelling.
- Your toothache is accompanied by a fever. This symptom could be a sign of an infection or abscess which needs to be treated with antibiotics.
- The pain is occurring because a permanent tooth has been knocked out (here are a few ways to tell if it is a baby or permanent tooth).
- There is pain when swallowing or breathing.
When you need attention for a toothache, don’t e-mail your dentist. Call the dentist (even during off hours), explain your symptoms, and ask for an emergency appointment that can get you on the way to recovery.