If you’re suffering from a toothache, it’s important to find the cause of your discomfort before attempting to remedy the issue.
Whether you’re experiencing a dull, throbbing pain in your jaw, or on one side of your mouth every time you bite and release, toothaches can take on many forms, but the cause of the issue will need to be addressed by your dentist.
You may experience the tooth pain come and ago, it doesn’t mean that the root of the problem has resolved itself. In most cases, the pain will return and this is a clear indication that your body is trying to tell you something.
We always recommend seeking medical attention rather than prolonging the pain as it can lead to further health complications.
What causes a toothache?
Toothaches can be caused for a number of reasons and can sometimes suddenly appear and go. The pain and discomfort experienced may be constant, or throbbing, which can range from mild to very severe and affect your head, ear and jaw. Here are some of the causes of a toothache:
- Tooth decay — when bacteria causes tooth decay, the nerves in your teeth (dentin) may be exposed, causing pain and sensitivity.
- Gum disease — plaque that has entered beneath the gum and left untreated can damage the bone which supports your teeth, this causes your teeth to be sensitive and ache.
- Infected tooth — abscesses caused from an infected tooth can start to form below or alongside the root of the tooth or resulting in pain.
- Bruxism — If you grind or clench your teeth at night in your sleep, this can cause your teeth to wear down over time, eventually exposing the more sensitive parts of your teeth, or crack.
- Overcrowded or misaligned teeth — If your teeth are crooked or misaligned, this can apply unnecessary pressure to other teeth.
- Impaction — Wisdom teeth that do not erupt fully from the gums can apply pressure against adjacent teeth.
- Sports injury or trauma — A chipped or cracked tooth can expose the dentin and pulp of your tooth, which increases the risk of infection.
How to remedy a toothache naturally
If you prefer not to use over the counter painkillers, here are some natural home remedies to alleviate the pain. We suggest speaking to your dentist if the pain persists as ignoring the issue will not make it go away and often result in a more complex and costly dental treatment.
- Salt water rinse — salt water is a natural disinfectant that can also help reduce inflammation and heal any oral wounds. Simply mix ½ a teaspoon of salt into a warm glass of water and use as a mouthwash.
- Use an ice pack before bed — wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. This can help reduce any swelling and inflammation and dull the pain.
- Keep your head elevated — if you’re experiencing pain before bed, placing your head higher than your body can help keep the blood from rushing to your head, which can intensify the toothache pain.
Over-the-counter medication you can take
OTC pain relief medications, such as paracetamol and Ibuprofen, can ease the pain and reduce inflammation if it’s distracting you or keeping you up at night. Pain killers should only be consumed and not applied directly to the gums or affected area, as the acid can irritate gum tissue.
We recommend speaking to a medical professional before taking over the counter medication in case of allergies. If pain symptoms persist, contact your dentist immediately.
When you should see your dentist?
If your toothache is the result of something more serious, and it generally will be, we suggest booking an appointment with your dentist immediately.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms please contact Alpha Dental Perth.
- If you have a fever, headache or pain when opening your mouth
- Toothache has lasted longer than two days
- If you have trouble breathing or swallowing
- Pain when you bite and release
- Abnormally red gums
- If you notice abscesses