What’s the best remedy for a toothache? A dental visit. Over-the-counter products might give you some pain relief. But lingering toothaches are symptoms of an issue that, if left untreated, can get worse and have lasting effects on your oral health and your overall well-being.
What Are Your Symptoms?
Toothache symptoms vary, but if you take note of the type and frequency of your discomfort, it can help determine the cause. Below are some common symptoms and possible causes.
- Brief sensitivity to heat or cold – When sensitivity doesn’t linger, the symptoms might be caused by receding gums, a loose filling, or minor tooth decay. Sometimes, you can get relief by brushing your teeth with toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If the issue doesn’t improve, your tooth needs to be examined. Dr. Becker will determine what’s causing the sensitivity and how it should be treated.
- Lingering sensitivity to heat or cold – If sensitivity in your tooth lingers after you eat or drink something cold or hot, the tooth pulp (living tissue inside) is likely damaged from deep decay or trauma. Dr. Becker can perform root canal treatment to remove any damaged tooth pulp, fill the tooth with dental sealer material, and protect it with a crown.
- Sensitivity to heat or cold after dental treatment – Some dental treatment irritates the pulp inside a tooth. Sensitive tooth nerves can flare up when you eat or drink something cold or hot. If the sensitivity doesn’t improve within two weeks—or if it worsens—the tooth needs to be examined to determine why the sensitivity is lingering.
- Sharp pain when biting or chewing – If you experience sharp pain when you bite or chew, the toothache could be caused by a loose filling, tooth decay, or a cracked or damaged tooth. Your tooth needs to be examined right away to prevent the damage from getting worse and resulting in tooth loss. Root canal treatment removes damaged tooth pulp, fills the tooth with dental sealer material, and protects it with a crown.
- Constant, severe pain – When a toothache is constant and severe, it is often accompanied by swollen gums. An abscess in or around the tooth roots is likely the cause of your pain. It results from an infection in your tooth pulp that needs to be removed with root canal treatment. An untreated infection will continue to spread. It can affect other teeth, your jawbone, and in severe cases, travel into your bloodstream.
- Achy upper teeth and jaw – Sinus pressure, or a sinus headache, can cause dull aches in your upper teeth and jaw. But so can bruxism (teeth grinding) or clenching your teeth. Over-the-counter medication can relieve sinus pressure or aches, but your teeth and sinuses need to be examined to determine the cause of the aches. Appropriate treatment will be recommended. If you grind or clench your teeth, a mouth guard can help relax your muscles and reduce grinding. See our TMJ dentist page for information on the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
If you have a toothache, don’t ignore it. Act quickly to identify to cause, protect your oral health, and preserve your tooth. Call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Becker, or request an appointment online.