ToothacheWe all dread it but most of us at some point in life have experienced toothache. Toothache is when you experience pain or numbness around the jaw area or the tooth itself. The pain can be very mild or become extremely unbearable especially when you chew. Apart from pain, you know that you have a toothache when :
- your tooth becomes extremely sensitive when it comes in contact with cold or hot food/drinks
- your gums start to bleed and
- your jaw begins to swell
The severity normally depends on the extent of the problem.
Toothache occurs when the nerve situated at the root of your tooth becomes aggravated or when the dental pulp (situated in the middle of every tooth) becomes inflamed. This normally arises when you have :
- tooth decay caused by cavity (most common cause of toothache)
- a broken tooth
- an exposed root
- gum disease
- muscle spasms of the jaw which worsens when you chew
- direct trauma to the mouth
- tooth extraction
- the eruption of your wisdom tooth
Sometimes a toothache can be caused by other factors not related to the mouth, tooth or jaw region. For instance, an ear infection or sinusitis can radiate pain to your teeth, giving you the sensation of a toothache.
How Does Your Dentist Confirm a ToothacheThe first thing that you need to do when you suspect a toothache is to take a trip to your dentist’s office. This is absolutely necessary because only he would be able to identify which tooth is giving you problems. Sometimes the pain or discomfort becomes so intense that the nerves might be giving the wrong signal to the brain which means the toothache could be from another tooth or maybe even the jaw!
The dentist will ask you a series of questions to get to the root of the problem such as :
- when did the pain begin
- is the tooth sensitive to certain foods / liquid – hot or cold
- does the pain worsen when you bite or open your mouth wide
- is the pain accompanied by fever or vomiting
This will be followed by examining your teeth too detect redness, swellings and damaged tooth. If necessary he may also take an x-ray to look for damaged root, cracked tooth or any other underlying problems.
TreatmentYour dentist will recommend the appropriate treatment for your toothache after he has confirmed the cause of the problem. The treatment could range from a simple filling to a root canal. If infection is detected then the course of treatment would be with antibiotics. Finally if no other treatment is possible then extraction would be the last resort.
If at all you are not able to consult the dentist immediately, you could seek alternative medication to relieve the pain and discomfort until you do. Painkillers are the most common method. Other home remedies that you could rely on are like clove oil (rubbing the affected gums or tooth) and the herb corydalis.