A toothache can come on suddenly and disrupt your day. When severe pain hits, it may be hard to focus on anything else. In fact, severe tooth pain qualifies as a dental emergency. The type of emergency toothache relief you receive depends on severity of your condition. Your dentist might be able to treat the cause of the pain at the office, or you may be referred to a dental specialist for advanced treatment.
Toothache Relief Through Surgery
A sudden toothache may be caused by a dental infection, called an abscess, either at the very tip of the root or along the side of the tooth. The American Association of Endodontists notes that an aching mouth or jaw, swollen gums, and pain while chewing are symptoms of an abscessed tooth. Usually, an infection at the end of a tooth requires a root canal procedure.
In simple cases, your general dentist can remove the contents of the tooth, clean out the infection and fill the space with a rubber-like dental material. However, if the root canal procedure is complex, the general dentist may refer you to an endodontist, who is a root canal specialist. They can clean out the root canals, seal the area, and prepare the tooth for a crown, which is placed during an appointment with the general dentist. Once the top part of the tooth is protected with a crown or other restoration, the tooth can function normally and without pain.
On rare occasions, however, the tooth may not be salvageable. In these cases, a general dentist or oral surgeon extracts the tooth that is causing the pain. You and a dental professional can discuss replacing the tooth with a dental implant.
Toothache Relief Through Medication
In some cases, an antibiotic or pain medication is prescribed to treat the infection and to help relieve the pain. Always consult a dentist before taking any over-the-counter pain relievers. Even though your toothache may make your mouth sensitive, it's key to keep up with your good oral hygiene habits. Brush gently twice daily and consider adding a mouthwash to your routine. It kills 99 percent of germs on contact with no burn of alcohol.
Your dentist or a dental specialist can provide emergency toothache relief, but preventing the need for an emergency appointment is best. Regular visits to your dentist and good oral hygiene may prevent any future dental emergencies and lead you to a lifetime of healthy smiles.