Find Out How to Treat a Toothache and When to Call Your Dentist
A toothache is no fun, especially if it comes on suddenly or has your toddler in hysterics. While you can’t always avoid a toothache, there are things you can do to prevent and manage them at any age. Learn about the common causes, how to treat a toothache at home, and when to see a dentist.
What Causes a Toothache?
From serious illness to injuries or minor annoyances, so many things can cause a toothache. Some conditions require a trip to the dentist while you can treat other run-of-the-mill issues at home. Here are a few of the most common toothache causes.
- Gum disease
- Repetitive motions, like chewing on pens or gum
- A broken filling
- Weather changes
- Wisdom teeth
- Abscessed teeth
- Sinus or ear infections
In some cases, a toothache can even point to other health issues, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or, in rare cases, heart disease or lung cancer. When in doubt, call your dentist! It’s important to know that your oral and physical health are also linked, so routine dental checkups are essential for better overall health. If you can’t see a dentist right away, you can do a few things to ease the pain at home.
Prevention is the best medicine! Regular cleanings can keep cavities and toothaches away. Book Your Appointment Today
How to Treat a Toothache at Home
If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering what to do when you have a toothache or how to treat a child’s toothache. Whether you can’t get to the dentist right away or need quick relief, here are five home remedies for toothaches.
- Use an ice pack. A chilled peppermint tea bag works well too. Cool the bag in the freezer for a few minutes before applying it to your gums.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin all work well. If you’re experiencing swelling and wondering what to take for a toothache, the combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen may work best for a toothache. However, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking the medications, and always be sure to carefully read and follow directions.
- Apply a warm compress. Heat a damp cloth in the microwave and apply it to your jaw to soothe radiating pain, or use a warm tea bag to relieve sore gums.
- Gargle with warm salt water. If you think you may have infected gums or an abscessed tooth, rinsing with a warm salt water mixture can relieve and cleanse the area. This simple remedy works well for canker sores too!
- Rinse with hydrogen peroxide. If you suspect an infection, combine equal parts water and peroxide, and gently swish for a minute before spitting and rinsing with water. This household antiseptic can prevent bacteria from spreading and offer short-term relief while you wait to see your dentist.
When to See a Dentist for a Toothache
So, when is a toothache more than just a pain? And how do you know it’s time to call your dentist? Consider these three tips.
- Be on the lookout for fever, jaw pain, or earache. A toothache accompanied by fever usually points to an infection. In these cases, the pain will radiate to other areas of your body, such as your ears or jaw. When this happens, it’s time to see your dentist! Whether you need a root canal, prescription mouth rinse, or antibiotics, your dentist will know the best course of treatment.
- Never ignore severe swelling. Minor inflammation can happen with allergens, injuries, or irritants, but significant swelling always warrants a visit to the dentist. Don’t wait for things to get worse!
- Always call your dentist if the pain lasts longer than two days. A minor toothache should never last more than 48 hours. So, if you’ve been treating your pain at home and it’s not improving, do make an appointment to visit your dentist.
Peace Haven Family Dentistry Is Here to Help with Dental Emergencies Like Toothaches
Whether you’ve experienced an injury or a toothache that won’t subside, Peace Haven Family Dentistry can handle your dental emergency. We treat patients of all ages, from the first cleaning to braces and beyond.