What To Do When You Have a Toothache

Thanks to the wonders of modern-day dentistry, toothaches aren’t a very common problem for patients who attend regular professional dental cleanings and exams and keep up with proper dental hygiene. When a toothache does strike, however, it can be very difficult to endure, and it’s hard to know when your pain requires a trip to the dentist. Today, Livonia comprehensive care dentist Dr. James Stewart wants to give you a few tips for treating a toothache at home and when to schedule an emergency dental appointment for a toothache that just won’t go away.

Identifying Tooth Pain

Before you can try to treat your pain at home or reserve an appointment with Dr. Stewart, it’s necessary to identify what’s causing your toothache.

Generally, the most common—and minor—dental pain is caused by tooth sensitivity, which occurs when you eat or drink something hot, cold, or sweet and experience a quick “twinge.” Sinus problems can also cause several of your upper teeth to be achy at the same time. If you’re a bruxer, meaning that you grind your teeth and/or clench your jaw, you’re probably used to waking up with a sore jaw. Although bruxism does require attention from Dr. Stewart, this kind of pain does not indicate an inner-tooth problem that needs emergency attention.

Unlike the symptoms above, the following problems require an emergency appointment with Dr. Stewart.

If you feel a sharp pain when you bite down or chew, you may have a cavity, a loose filling, a cracked tooth, or damaged dental pulp. Lingering tooth sensitivity (30 minutes or longer) can also indicate tooth pulp damage. If you experience constant and severe pain or swelling of the gums or face, call our Livonia dentist office immediately at (734) 425-4400.

If you’re unsure if your toothache warrants an emergency appointment, think about how severe your pain is. If your tooth hurts enough to wake you up during the night or interferes with your ability to function normally, it’s time to come in for an appointment. If you’re not sure about the level of your tooth pain, give us a call, and we’ll advise you over the phone. We’d much rather be safe than sorry.

Treating a Toothache at Home

To try to achieve temporary relief from a debilitating toothache, Dr. Stewart suggests the following:

  • Take two Aspirin, Acetaminophen, or Ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Use an antiseptic rinse when you brush your teeth for temporary relief.
  • Apply garlic and salt to the tooth to help stop the bacteria that could be causing the ache. Just remember to brush and rinse afterwards!
  • Place a cold compress on your cheek for temporary relief.
  • Numb the affected tooth or teeth with a desensitizing agent, such as Orajel, for temporary relief.
  • Rinse your mouth with water to help remove any trapped food debris that may aggravate your toothache.
  • Plug the tooth with gauze or wax to reduce your tooth’s sensitivity to air or debris in your mouth.
  • Elevate your head to reduce pressure on the tooth and the surrounding area.

If you experience any kind of prolonged dental or oral pain, contact our Livonia dentist office, serving the areas of Flint, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, and Novi, at (734) 425-4400.