Toothache Troubles: When to See a Dentist
A toothache doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you wake up with a throbbing pain in your tooth you may sing a different tune!
If you find yourself in this position, the first step is to call your dentist; only he or she can truly identify the cause of your suffering.
There are many common causes for toothaches:
- Tooth decay. You may have a cavity that needs to be filled or one of your fillings is broken.
- Jaw pain from grinding or clenching your teeth, especially at night.
- Gum disease or a bacterial infection of the tooth, called an abscess.
- Acute sinusitis, or the inflammation of the areas inside the nasal cavities. Sinus pain results from the buildup of pressure due to allergies, a cold, flu or upper respiratory infections.
- Injuring your jaw or teeth during an accident or sporting event.
The good news is you can take steps to ease the pain before you see a dentist. Start by taking over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen. You may also want to rinse your mouth with warm saltwater or floss your teeth to remove any lingering food particles. If you’ve had an injury, a cold compress to the painful area can help.
If you have a decayed tooth or infection, you’ll want to treat the problem right away. Neglecting it may result in worse dental problems in the future. It’s even more important to contact your dentist if you have a fever, swelling around the tooth or difficulty in breathing or swallowing.
If you play a sport, protect your teeth and gums by wearing a mouthguard. And remember, the best defense against tooth pain is to practice good oral health every day by brushing and flossing regularly.