If your teeth are causing pain, you may be wondering whether you have a dental emergency on your hands and whether visiting an emergency dentist for toothache pain relief is the best option?
Typically, a dental emergency involves a condition that requires immediate dental care and any dental problem that needs immediate medical care to alleviate pain, stop bleeding, or save a tooth is considered a dental emergency. This also applies to swelling and infections that could be life-threatening. Mysterious bleeding after a dental procedure or a knocked-out tooth, for example, are situations where you should also seek help from an emergency dentist. Random pain such as sporadic toothache can also be a dental emergency, depending on the severity of the pain.
But before we get further into when this situation constitutes a dental emergency, let’s look at the most common causes of toothache.
What causes tooth pain?
Several factors can cause toothache, including:
- A dental cavity – Developing cavities gradually erode the hard enamel and dentin surrounding a tooth. Once they reach a certain depth, they can cause tooth pain when biting and chewing food, particularly if it’s sweet.
- Infection or dental abscess – A cavity may become infected without treatment. As the nerves start to die inside the tooth, you will experience tooth pain and discomfort, often accompanied by swelling of the gums and tooth sensitivity near the infected area.
- Teeth grinding (bruxism) – In severe cases, prolonged tooth grinding can place stress on the roots and ligaments of the teeth, causing them to ache. If you suspect teeth grinding is a problem, visit a dentist at your earliest convenience to prevent further tooth pain and damage to the teeth.
- Oral trauma – If you suffer a blow to the face and mouth (possibly from contact sports), trip and fall, or other trauma that causes injury, the resulting pain in your jaw and gums can feel like a severe toothache. One or more of your teeth may be cracked or broken. In cases like these, you should contact an emergency dentist to request a same-day appointment. While waiting to see the dentist, over-the-counter medications such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen will provide toothache pain relief.
Depending on the cause of toothache, you may need a root canal to relieve the tooth pain or a nightguard to prevent teeth from grinding together.
When is toothache a dental emergency?
If a tooth has been aching for more than a couple of days and is causing severe pain and discomfort, this is, without doubt, a dental emergency. Often, constant tooth pain indicates an infected tooth or advanced cavity.
Choosing to ignore it will only make matters worse. As the infection advances, the pulp in the centre of the tooth starts to die, causing intolerable pain and discomfort. Eventually, the whole tooth will die, falling out or remaining in your mouth until a dentist extracts it.
The benefits of emergency dental care
First and foremost, visiting an emergency dentist gives you immediate relief from toothache pain. Our emergency dentist can determine the causes of your toothache and take the appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
Furthermore, getting immediate help for tooth pain can prevent more costly complications. For instance, if you ignore an infected tooth that requires root canal treatment, it could die and require extraction. Then not only are you faced with the cost of tooth extraction, but also the inconvenience and costs of replacing it with a dental bridge, partial denture or dental implant. These procedures are more expensive and invasive than timely root canal treatment.
Finally, there’s peace of mind. Following appropriate treatment, you’ll know that the dental problem is under control, and you can get on with your life free from niggling tooth pain and oral health concerns.
Toothache pain relief – Your treatment options
Treatment for tooth pain depends on the cause of discomfort and the extent of the damage. Generally, the best way to stop a toothache is for the dentist to remove the infection or decay and repair the damage to protect shallow or exposed areas.
The dentist will typically remove the decay from a shallow cavity and seal the tooth with a filling. If the cavity is deep and the inner pulp becomes infected, root canal therapy will be necessary to save the tooth from extraction.
For a periodontal abscess, the dentist carries out a simple drainage procedure under local anaesthesia. Sometimes antibiotics are administered into the affected gum pocket to aid healing.
In the case of tooth fractures or cracks, depending on their severity, dental bonding can seal a crack to prevent bacteria from penetrating the tooth enamel and causing infection and toothache.
A dental crown may be the solution for a tooth that is heavily filled and/or missing a significant portion of its natural structure.
Are there any home remedies for toothache pain relief?
Typically, home remedies for tooth pain are only a temporary measure to calm the pain while you wait for a dental emergency appointment. Remedies include:
- Over-the-counter pain killers
- Numbing gel such as Oral-Eze
- Clove oil is a natural home remedy that can provide some relief by numbing the tooth
Until you receive treatment, it’s best to eat on the other side of the mouth and refrain from foods or drinks that are overly hot or cold.
What is the prognosis for a toothache?
For the most part, it’s pretty good. With modern dental care, dentists can quickly diagnose and treat the symptoms. However, the best outcome is when a toothache is treated quickly to prevent infection from spreading or further damage to the tooth.
Is it possible to prevent toothache?
Maintaining good oral hygiene alongside regular dental check-ups goes a long way to help prevent toothache. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day is essential for good oral hygiene at home.
Do you have a toothache?
Toothache is no joke. Don’t suffer in silence. Schedule an emergency appointment with the caring dentists at No Gaps Dental. Call us now on (02) 8007 6727 for immediate assistance.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
BMJ Best Practice – Dental Abscess
Health Direct – Root Canal Treatment
PubMed central – Diagnosis and treatment of abnormal dental pain