If you have a toothache, you might have a variety of symptoms like dull, sharp, or throbbing pain, swollen gums, or even a fever. In many cases, toothaches are so uncomfortable that you can’t eat, sleep, or go to work, so it’s understandable that you’d want to get out of pain ASAP. By getting emergency dentistry right away, you’ll get relief from your discomfort and restore the health of your tooth at the same time. Keep reading below to learn about the common reasons for a toothache and what your treatment options are.
What Causes a Toothache?
Generally speaking, toothaches are caused by an inflamed or infected nerve in the center of a tooth. Here are two common reasons that can occur:
- Cavities – Small cavities affect the outer layers of a tooth and usually only cause mild sensitivity. As a cavity grows larger however, it gets closer to the nerve and begins causing more severe pain. If left untreated, the nerve can become badly infected and lead to an abscess, which can be life-threatening if it spreads to other areas of the body.
- Trauma or fractures – A nerve can also become inflamed from trauma such as blunt force to the tooth or fractures from clenching and grinding or chewing ice, hard candies or popcorn kernels.
And while a toothache is certainly unpleasant, it’s also your body’s way of telling you there’s a problem that needs to be addressed right away.
Treatment Options For a Toothache
Although you can use remedies at home like an ice pack and over-the-counter pain medication, you’ll also want to call an emergency dentist right away. Even if the pain subsides, chances are that there’s still an infection present that needs immediate treatment.
At your appointment, they’ll start by asking about your symptoms and doing an exam. They’ll also take an X-ray to look for signs of infection around the root of your tooth. After making a diagnosis, they’ll discuss your treatment options, which may include:
- A dental filling or crown – If you only have a mild toothache or sensitivity and the nerve of the tooth is healthy, it can usually be treated with a dental filling or crown.
- A root canal and crown – If the nerve of your tooth is infected or irreversibly inflamed, a root canal will remove the infection while saving the remaining tooth structure. However, since a root canal also removes the blood supply of a tooth, it will be left weaker than before. A dental crown will restore the tooth’s strength and help it function normally.
No one wants to deal with the pain and hassle of a toothache. But with the right treatment, you’ll get out of pain fast and also protect your oral health for many years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Darren Koch is a general and emergency dentist who graduated in the top 15% of his class at the University at Buffalo. With nearly 20 years of experience, a gentle touch, and the latest technology, he’s able to quickly diagnose and treat any type of tooth pain. If you’re experiencing a toothache or have any questions, he can be reached via his website.