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September 16, 2018

How to Handle a Toothache

Filed under: Uncategorized — dr_nelson @ 1:08 am

man suffering from toothache

Toothaches are probably the most common reason why people visit their dentist. Potential causes of tooth pain include cavities, enamel erosion and chipped or fractured teeth. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of treatment options, including fillings, extractions, and root canal in Wesley Chapel.

Types of Toothaches

The type of tooth pain you’re having may offer clues as to the underlying problem. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of dental discomfort:

  • Sharp, stabbing pain made worse by cold. Does drinking a chilled beverage makes your tooth feel like it’s being tortured? If so, then you may be suffering from enamel loss, recessed gums or a cavity.
  • Throbbing pain accompanied by swelling. These are common symptoms of an abscess or other infection.
  • Pain when eating. This is often caused by a chipped or cracked tooth.
  • Pain in the back of your jaw. This may be a sign of muscular tension or tooth grinding.
  • Widespread pain throughout multiple teeth. This can indicate a number of problems, including mouth trauma, nerve damage or advanced tooth decay.

Possible Treatment Options

Whatever type of pain you’re having, you should see your dentist in Wesley Chapel right away. He or she will diagnose the exact cause and prescribe a course of therapy. This may include:

  • A filling. This is the classic treatment for a tooth cavity. The dentist will use a medical-grade filler to protect the sensitive nerves inside the tooth and prevent further decay.
  • A mouthguard. This can help if the cause of your tooth pain is teeth grinding.
  • Cosmetic bonding. The dentist applies pharmaceutical resin to a crack, cavity or chip in the tooth, relieving pain and correcting aesthetic concerns.
  • Crowns, implants or bridges. These approaches use a dental prosthesis to remedy or replace damaged or missing teeth.
  • A root canal. The dentist removes infected tissue and applies a filler to offer long-term protection. Root canals are an effective way to save a tooth that might otherwise be lost.
  • Extraction. The dentist removes the problem tooth entirely. While this approach offers short-term relief from discomfort, it can also lead to long-term complications such as jawline erosion. For this reason, extractions are best reserved for emergency situations only.

First Aid for an Aching Tooth

What do you do if your tooth is killing you and you can’t see the dentist right away? Here are some ways to minimize the discomfort until you can get help:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or aspirin. You may have heard that applying aspirin directly to a problem tooth can relieve pain. Most dentists advise against this, as the medication can irritate skin tissues and make the discomfort worse.
  • Pain relieving gels from your local pharmacy. These products contain benzocaine, a topical analgesic. They can provide short-term relief if the pain is not too severe.
  • Apply an ice pack. This is of particular benefit if your tooth pain is accompanied by swelling.
  • Swishing your mouth with warm salt water. This can both relieve pain and help to prevent infection.

The best way to deal with toothaches is through prevention. Regular brushing and flossing, avoiding sweets and starches and seeing your dentist every six months are important rules for all of us to follow. The time and effort will more than pay for themselves with a life free of toothache pain.

About the Author

Dr. Jay Nelson earned his DDS degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been serving the people of Wesley Chapel and the surrounding area since 1987. You can reach his office online or by calling (813) 949-0424.




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