What causes toothache and how to get relief?

A toothache is no fun. Especially when you don’t know what is causing it. Toothaches normally start out as a dull, throbbing pain and could be a symptom of an underlying issue which will need to be addressed by your dentist.

What is a toothache?

Toothaches and jaw pain are two of the more common complaints dentists hear about. It refers to any pain felt in or around the tooth.  Healthy teeth and gums should not hurt, and if you do experience pain in or around your teeth this could be due to the following:

  • Injury (a sudden blow to the face can knock teeth out of place or result in chips and cracks, which can expose the pulp and potentially lead to infection)
  • Tooth decay (the bacteria in plaque harm the protective layer of enamel, exposing sensitive nerve endings within the dentine)
  • Gum disease
  • Post-extraction pain
  • Dental abscess
  • Biting too hard or a habit of teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Food particles stuck between teeth or braces
  • Flossing

Toothaches are not always caused by underlying disease, but it is still important to visit your dentist for a thorough examination.

Symptoms of Toothache

Toothaches can vary in severity from mild to severe. Most people also experience swelling. Swelling in the mouth is a sign of infection. You should not delay seeing one of our dentists.

You may also experience a sharp throbbing sensation (constant or intermittent), have a fever, bad breath, pain which worsens when brushing teeth or consuming a meal, or experience tooth sensitivity.

It is rare for a toothache to subside on its own. Delaying treatment may cause your condition to worsen, placing your oral and general health at significant risk. Until you see the dentist you can ease the discomfort by gargling salt water. This will help to reduce swelling and aid in the removal of bacteria from the mouth. Over the counter pain relief such as Panadol may also be used.

Treatment of Toothache

If you are experiencing toothache then it’s important to book an appointment with your dentist. The dentist will perform a thorough examination of your mouth to determine the cause of your pain. X-Rays may need to be taken as part of this procedure. An appropriate treatment will then be proposed, which may include:

  • Root canal therapy (tooth decay and cavities)
  • Fillings (tooth decay and cavities)
  • Dental Crowns (especially in cases of damaged teeth)
  • Gum treatment
  • Custom splint (for cases of toothache linked to tooth grinding)
  • Antibiotics and pain medication

We have emergency appointments available every day. These are only available by phoning our reception during business hours.