What Should I Do if I Have a Toothache?
Whether it comes on slowly over time or occurs overnight, toothaches can seriously hinder your daily life. In cases of a toothache, fast diagnosis and treatment is often the ideal option. With help from your Huntsville, AL dentist, you can have your damaged or painful tooth repaired and get back to a healthy, happy and pain-free smile.
How do toothaches occur?
- Decay: When bacteria collect on the teeth, plaque and tartar form. This decay eats into the tooth’s upper layers, eventually reaching the tooth’s pulp and nerve. When the nerve is exposed or damaged by decay, a toothache occurs.
- Abscessed tooth: Abscessed teeth go hand in hand with advanced tooth decay. When a tooth becomes severely infected, an abscess forms. Abscesses cause severe pain and sensitivity. They also often cause the gums around the tooth to become inflamed and swollen. A sore may form, which drains from the side of the gum tissue.
- Teeth grinding: The pressure from tooth grinding wears down the teeth. This type of toothache does not necessarily occur in one single tooth, but in a group of teeth. Patients often complain of a dull ache with sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Gum disease: Gum disease like gingivitis or periodontitis occurs from a buildup of plaque on the teeth which reaches the gum. This results in pain in or around the teeth and bleeding, swollen or irritated gum tissue.
- Damaged filling: A dental filling protects the tooth’s root. When the filling is cracked or damaged, the root becomes exposed, causing a toothache.
- Fracture: When a tooth is broken or fractured, the nerve and pulp of the tooth become damaged and/or exposed.
What should I do if I have a toothache?
If a toothache is severe or you notice oozing from a sore, you should seek help from your dentist immediately. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen temporarily decrease pain, but do not treat the root problem. You should schedule an appointment with your dentist if your toothache lasts longer than 2 days or is accompanied by a fever or earache, or if you experience pain while opening your mouth.
For more information on toothaches, please contact Dr. Michael Pugh, DMD at Artistic Dentistry in Huntsville, AL. Call (256) 536-3386 to schedule your appointment today.