You may experience a toothache and/or swelling when there’s a problem with your teeth or gums. The pain may not only affect your tooth, but also your head, ear or jaw.
It is important to visit your dentist and seek treatment promptly to avoid worsening of your toothache.
Toothaches can be caused by dental problems such as tooth decay, dental injury, a cracked tooth, a loose filling, receding gums, inflammation of the tooth’s inner pulp, or a dental abscess. A toothache can also be caused by other non-dental problems such as a sinus infection, mouth ulcer or jaw problems.
It is important to see your doctor or general practitioner if you have a fever, trouble breathing or swallowing, or if you have any obvious infection in your mouth or throat (redness, swelling, pain, or pus discharge).
During your emergency appointment with the dentist, your dentist will examine your teeth and may take an x-ray.
Treatment will depend on the cause of the toothache and may include a filling, root canal therapy, or a crown. Your dentist will discuss your treatment options with you on the day, including appropriate pain relief, and general oral hygiene education.
Things you can do to relieve a toothache before and after the appointment include:
• Keeping your teeth and mouth clean with regular brushing after meals. If your mouth is sore, we recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush
• Eat foods that are easy to chew and swallow
• Avoid drinks that are very hot or very cold
• Try lying with your head propped up or elevated on a pillow (or two), as lying flat can sometimes worsen dental pain
• Salt water may help. Mix one teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water, then take a mouthful of the salt water and hold it in your mouth so it covers your affected tooth for two minutes, and then spit it out. Do not swallow it.
• Try a cold compress against the side of your face. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.