Are you experiencing a toothache? Is it so painful that you can’t eat, sleep or concentrate on other activities? Toothache is one of the most common dental problems, and it affects millions of people. Pain can range from mild to excruciating and can last for a few minutes or months on end. And no one wants to be stuck dealing with the agony caused by a toothache.
If you’re looking for immediate relief, there are some home remedies that may provide temporary relief while waiting for your appointment with the dentist. In this article, we will discuss the common causes of tooth pain, how to get relief, and when to seek emergency dental care.
Common Causes of Tooth Pain
Cavities and Tooth Decay
Cavities and tooth decay are one of the most common causes of tooth pain. Cavities occur when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that eat away at the enamel, or outer layer, of your teeth. This can lead to holes in your teeth, which can cause pain and sensitive teeth. If left untreated, cavities can become larger and deeper, leading to more severe pain and even infection.
Infections can also cause tooth pain. An infection in the gums or jawbone can lead to swelling and pain, as well as a fever. Infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses, and they can spread quickly if not treated promptly. If you experience any of these symptoms along with your toothache, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Trauma is another common cause of tooth pain. Trauma to the teeth can occur from a fall, sports injury, or even biting down on something hard. This type of trauma can cause chips, cracks, and even fractures in the teeth. These types of injuries can lead to sharp pain and sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is another common cause of tooth pain. This occurs when bacteria in the mouth infect the gums and causes inflammation. This can lead to pain, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that typically appear in the late teens or early twenties. They can cause pain and discomfort when they become impacted, meaning they are unable to fully erupt through the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling, pain, and infection in the surrounding area. If left untreated, wisdom teeth can lead to more serious dental problems.
Damaged or Lost Dental Restorations
Damaged or lost dental restorations can also cause tooth pain. Dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and fillings can become damaged or fall out due to wear and tear, decay, or trauma. When this happens, the underlying tooth structure is exposed and can become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. If a restoration is damaged or missing, it is important to seek dental care right away.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common cause of tooth pain. Teeth grinding occurs when the upper and lower teeth are clenched together and moved back and forth in a rhythmic motion. This can cause wear and tear on the teeth, leading to chipping, cracking, or even fractures. It can also lead to sensitivity in the teeth due to the enamel being worn away.
Tips to Relieve Tooth Pain at Home
There are several home remedies you can try to help relieve tooth pain at home. These include:
- Over-The-Counter Pain Medications: OTC medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can help relieve tooth pain. These medications work by reducing inflammation and providing temporary relief from the pain. However, it is important to follow the instructions on the package and not take more than the recommended dosage.
- Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the outside of your cheek can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from tooth pain. This is because it causes your blood vessels in that area to constrict, which helps to reduce pain.
- Elevate Your Head: When lying down, try to keep your head elevated on a pillow. This can help reduce the pressure on your jaw caused by blood flow to your head and mouth and provide relief from tooth pain.
- Salt Water Rinse: A salt water rinse can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from tooth pain. To make a saltwater rinse, mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds. Spit out the solution and repeat as needed.
- Eat Soft Foods: Eating soft foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, and applesauce can help reduce the pressure on your teeth and provide relief from tooth pain.
When to Seek Emergency Dental Care
Not all tooth pain requires immediate medical attention, but many times it does. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is best to contact an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
- The pain is severe and has lasted more than one or two days
- The tooth or surrounding area is swollen and tender
- You have any other signs of infection, such as fever or swelling
- There is bleeding that cannot be stopped
- There is trauma to the jaw or mouth
- The tooth has been knocked out
- You have a bad taste or odor in the mouth
Contact Us for Emergency Dental Care
Tooth pain is not something anyone wants to experience, but it is important to seek medical attention if the pain persists or worsens. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact our office at 703-215-3256 for emergency care. Our team of dental professionals specializes in treating dental pain and other conditions that require immediate treatment. We are here to provide you with the best care possible.