If you’re experiencing tooth pain, you probably want to know the best way to alleviate it. Unless you have unbearable pain, infection or other serious dental problem, it is unlikely to be a dental emergency, so there shouldn’t be any need to visit an emergency dentist. Over-the-counter medication should give you short-term toothache pain relief until you can schedule an appointment with a dentist to identify the cause of your discomfort.
Tooth Pain Causes and Treatments
A toothache is caused by many things, including tooth decay, gum disease, a cracked tooth, or an abscess. Sometimes, a toothache may be caused by something else, such as sinusitis or ear infection.
One thing is certain: if you have a toothache, it is unlikely to disappear without treatment. So, don’t delay seeing a dentist as soon as you can. Identifying the cause and having the appropriate treatment can prevent it from worsening and becoming a dental emergency. Some of the most typical causes of tooth pain include:
The build-up of dental plaque causes tooth decay. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. It produces tooth-eroding acids that cause holes or cavities to develop. If tooth decay is left untreated, it can lead to tooth pain, infection, and even tooth loss. Treatments include:
A tooth filling is a dental restoration used to repair a tooth damaged by decay or injury. Fillings are made of materials such as gold, silver, or composite resins, which match your teeth’ colour.
These are standard dental procedures used to treat infection or inflammation in the tooth. The process involves removing the infected or damaged tissue inside the tooth and sealing it to prevent further infection. A root canal procedure is used to save a tooth from extraction and provides toothache pain relief by removing the infected nerves.
When a tooth’s nerve becomes damaged or infected, it can cause a small pocket of pus (abscess) to form at the tooth’s root, creating tooth pain. An abscess can occur when tooth decay is not treated correctly, and the bacteria from the decay spreads to the nerve. Gum disease can also be a factor, as can an injury to the tooth. If the infection isn’t treated, it can become a dental emergency if it spreads to the jawbone and other nearby tissues. Treatments include:
- Draining the pus by making an incision in the gum boil.
- Antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
While these options may provide toothache pain relief, they do not address the underlying causes of the problem. Further treatments to deal with the issue include:
- Root canal
- Tooth extraction
Cracked or Damaged Tooth
A cracked or damaged tooth may be a dental emergency, depending on the severity of the crack or damage. If the crack is small and does not extend to the tooth’s root, you may not need to see a dentist immediately. However, if the crack is large or extends to the tooth’s root, you should see an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
Emergency treatment is carried out to prevent further damage and provide you with toothache pain relief. You may receive an appointment for other treatment after you visit the emergency dentist. Treatments may include:
- Tooth extraction
- A dental crown to strengthen the tooth and protect it from further damage.
Tooth pain should always be treated at the earliest opportunity. Still, it is not usually a dental emergency unless the pain is excruciating or there is significant damage to your tooth or mouth. For information about toothache pain relief, get in touch for an appointment, or speak to an emergency dentist by calling on (02) 9100 0188 for further advice.
Colgate: How bacterial plaque causes gum disease and tooth decay
Mayo Clinic: Periodontitis