Dental Emergencies and Relieving Dental Pain

Dr. Chelsea Mason

Dr. Chelsea Mason Dental

     Experiencing an aching tooth or persistent discomfort in your mouth should be your first warning sign that you need to contact your dentist. Persistent pain in our smile could mean the presence of a cavity, dental infection or other dental disease. The American Dental Association recommends having any troubling toothache evaluated immediately by your trusted dentist. Do not delay!

Your Toothache May Be A Warning

When you experience sensitivity or dull aching in your mouth, it should be considered a warning sign. This sensitivity can be the result of sinus or allergy issues; however, these scenarios should result in your pain being temporary and may only last a few hours. If you are experiencing dental pain due to a cavity or an infection, then your discomfort may last for more than 48 hours and may worsen with time. These scenarios require evaluation, diagnosis and treatment by your dentist.

Poor oral hygiene, a diet high in sugary foods, and infrequent brushing and flossing can allow for plaque to coat the teeth, destroy tooth enamel, and enable cavities to form, which may be painful. Cavities can then spread through the tooth and eventually reach the inner pulp where a tooth’s nerve center is located. Once tooth decay has developed to this stage, the infection begins and you may require a root canal for treatment.

Dangers of Decay and Infection

In addition to discomfort, tooth decay and infection may weaken the structure of a tooth, which increases your risk of injuries, including cracks or chips. If a tooth is infected, the inner pulp can die, which effectively kills the tooth. A tooth extraction may be necessary to stop the spread of infection to surrounding teeth or into the jawbone itself. If you experience persistent tooth sensitivity, toothaches, pain while chewing, or swelling, these can all be signs of an advanced cavity or an infected tooth that requires attention from your trusted dentist as soon as possible.

Home Remedies To Try First

If a toothache strikes when you cannot see your dentist, like in the middle of the night, you may feel desperate to find some pain relief. For temporary relief, consider trying one of these homemade toothache remedies:

1. Warm Salt Water Rinse. One of the easiest and most effective ways of reducing discomfort from a swollen tooth is to rinse your mouth with a warm salt water rinse. Add a few teaspoons of salt to a glass of warm water and swish the mixture around in your mouth for a few seconds before spitting out the liquid. Warm water will help to ease the pain, and the salt will help to reduce any swelling in your gum tissue temporarily.

2. Cold Compress. If you are experiencing swelling in addition to a painful tooth, holding a cold compress against the outside of your cheek may provide some temporary relief. A cold compress will help to numb the area, which can relieve discomfort. It may also help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Cold compresses may offer temporary relief to help you fall back asleep, but they will not address the root cause of your toothache. Be sure to contact your dentist in the morning for further instructions.

3. Clove Oil. Clove oil may be used for temporary protection and to decrease swelling associated with a toothache. For this homemade toothache remedy, simply dip a cotton ball in clove oil and gently rub the cotton ball over the sore area of the tooth and gum. Clove oil contains eugenol, a natural anesthetic, which gives this home remedy the ability to help with the pain associated with a toothache.

Tooth Pain Medications

Over the counter pain medications can help to keep you comfortable while waiting to be seen by your dentist for an emergency appointment. Just like the home remedies listed above, over the counter pain medications are not a long-term solution for discomfort from a toothache. If you medicate your pain without seeking dental care, the cavity could get worse and lead to an infection. Always follow directions when taking any over-the-counter pain medications.

How Your Dentist Can Help

Home remedies for experiencing tooth sensitivity and discomfort may provide you with some temporary relief, but they are not long-term solutions for repairing a damaged tooth. Your dentist can help halt discomfort you may be experiencing when it comes to your teeth and gums. Tell your dentist about your level of pain and how long you have had it. Give a complete medical history including all the medications you are taking.

Don’t delay, call your dentist today!