Toothache - What To Do & What Not Image 1

Toothache – What To Do & What Not

We know that all-too-familiar nagging feeling toothache brings. The painful ‘tooth’ of the matter is that we should never ignore any persistent ache. Pain that disappears in a day or maybe two can possibly be overlooked, but usually, a toothache is a red flag for trouble down the line.

The rule of thumb, or tooth, in this case, is: ‘Soonest tended, Soonest mended’. We don’t need small, readily solvable oral issues to become major ones requiring surgery.

Having said that – there are symptoms that we may tend to confuse with a toothache. Even then, because they are oral health issues, they fall within the expertise of dental jurisdiction. Making a habit to get to the dentist with any matters of the mouth is the course of wisdom.

Mistaken Toothache Symptoms

It is sometimes the case that dental issues exist without evidencing in a debilitating way. There are a small number of conditions that may seem similar to toothache such as:

  • Gum Ulcers
  • Sinusitis – because it may cause pain in the upper jaw region
  • Periodontal Abscess – which is pus from a bacterial infection that collects in the gums
  • Wisdom Teeth – as they erupt through the gum

What not to do:

  • Neglect it hoping it’ll go away
  • Try to puncture the gum ourselves to release collected pus

What to do:

  • Visit the dentist to attend to matters arising in our mouths.
  • Treat our teeth with respect and care no matter what.
  • Keep up oral health routines.

What Causes Toothache?

Whatever the cause, always remember that if we ignore our teeth, they will go away!

If we are reluctant dental visitors, it’s worth facing the fear and doing it anyway. Dentists these days are super-skilled and truly try to make the processes as light as possible to bear.

  • Periapical Abscess – pus from a bacterial infection that collects at the end of the tooth.
  • Tooth Decay – usually presenting with cavities.
  • Broken Teeth.
  • Lost Fillings.
  • Dental Injuries – from being struck on the jaw for example.
  • Grinding the teeth

What are the Symptoms of Toothache?

The symptoms are generally hard to ignore, try though we might. Symptoms are often worse at night because, while reposing in our favourite horizontal position, the blood reaches the head more readily which activity exacerbates toothache.

  • Throbbing pain – severe and continuous
  • Sharp, stabbing pain
  • Persistent toothache however mild
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Foul-taste in the mouth form an infection
  • Swelling around a tooth
  • Pain on opening jaw wide
  • Earache

What not to do:

  • Postpone a visit to the dentist
  • Kill the pain with pain killers for more than a day or two

What to do:

  • Ask for an emergency appointment if symptoms are severe
  • Make a scheduled appointment as soon as the two-day waiting period is over
  • Keep up oral hygiene
  • Avoid sugary or acidic food

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Is Toothache the Same as Tooth Sensitivity?

The short answer is, not necessarily. Sensitivity is what kills that magnificent cup of morning coffee and it can totally ruin eating ice cream! If any sensitivity lasts longer than 30 seconds after exposure to either temperature extreme, we need to visit the dentist who can define the issue for certain and recommend an appropriate solution.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

  • Receding Gums – cause dentin exposure
  • Enamel Erosion – regular wear and tear, which may be worsened by a history of acid reflux or a sugary or acidic diet.
  • Fissures – expose the same tender nerves as cavities do.

What to do:

  • Jack up oral hygiene which staves off decay and gum disease.
  • Brush with ‘sensitivity relief’ toothpaste, which should contain potassium nitrate.

What not to do:

  • Neglect to inform the dentist.
  • Self-diagnose.

Toothache Prevention

While everyone knows that prevention is better than cure, it’s shocking how many of us tend to wait for an emergency before we attend to our teeth. Most of our toothaches are due to dental decay and right there, we can put controls in place.

Best oral practice is to have oral hygiene as a value in our lives and to teach it to our children. Have everyone in the family booked for regular dental check-ups. Learn how to brush properly for those critical two minutes and floss twice a day to keep any ‘food traps’ clear of stubborn debris.

Make a friend of our oral hygienist and have our teeth regularly cleaned and cleared of the plaque that forms.

Remember that diet is not only for weight loss. A healthy diet that is low on acidic and sugary foods, in general, will keep our teeth sound in health. Preventative oral health is the best way to prevent toothache.

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