The principal cause of toothaches is typically decay, but it’s always important that your dentist assess the tooth in a complete examination before the cause is determined. A tooth ache could be attributed to other causes such as gum disease, bruxism, infection, an abnormal bite, and tooth trauma. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms, especially when they are accompanied by a fever:
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Inflammation around the tooth area
- Pain when you bite
- An unpleasant tasting discharge
Toothaches can be terribly uncomfortable, and the best thing you can do to relieve the pain is to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. However, here are a few things you can do to alleviate the pain until you can get in to see the doctor:
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
- Gently floss around the tooth.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever (ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen).
- Never place an aspirin or pain killer against the gums near the aching tooth as it may burn gum tissue.
- Apply an over-the-counter antiseptic with benzocaine to numb and temporarily relieve pain in the tooth and surrounding tissue. Eugenol or oil of cloves may also help numb the discomfort when directly applied as well.
- If trauma has been the cause of the toothache, a cold compress may be applied to the outside of the cheek.
Of course, it is idealistic if you can avoid toothaches all together! Here are the three most important tips to remember to avoid having to experience a toothache:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss on a daily basis to help prevent gum disease.
- Visit your dentist on a semiannual basis for professional cleanings and oral exams.