Certain toothache remedies have been around for centuries, and fortunately their treatment and prevention has progressed so that most people can find relief right when they become uncomfortable. Some remedies don't just dull the pain, they can also prevent further damage to the teeth and gums.
Toothaches can be grouped into three categories based upon their causes: infection, gum disease, and trauma, and your dentist will recognize which your pain falls under. If you are experiencing a toothache, here are the remedies per category:
1. When Caused by an Infection
Probably the most frequent type of toothache, an infection is usually caused by decay that has reached the pulp (nerve) of the tooth, creating an abscess in the surrounding tissue and bone.
The remedy for an abscess ultimately involves examination by a general dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist), but as the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) advises, you can take an over-the-counter medication prior to reaching their office. To help with diagnosis, it is likely that your dentist will take a digital image of your tooth and the surrounding area to discover the source of the infection. A sinus infection could also be the source, as it often arrives with jaw pain that starts at the tooth. If the pain does originate due to an abscess, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.
Keep in mind that you should avoid taking any antibiotics you may have left over from a previous condition, as the dose and type of antibiotic may not be the right kind to treat your current symptoms. If the infection at hand does require antibiotics, your dentist or specialist will prescribe one to you at the time of the examination. If it does turn out to be a sinus infection, that calls for its own antibiotic as well.
2. When Caused by Gum Disease
This type of toothache is usually present when the gum disease is severe – if suffering from periodontitis, for example. It is treated by removing the irritants around the teeth and following precise preventive visits with your dentist and dental hygienist.
Mouthwashes specifically designed for gum disease, such as Colgate Total® Mouthwash for Gum Health, can also be an effective part of the toothache remedies if they begin at the gumline or surrounding soft tissue. No matter which toothache remedies you embrace, routine preventive visits to your dentist and dental hygienist should be accompanied by daily flossing and consistent brushing two to three times a day. Consider what types of floss and toothbrushes are available, and be sure to teach your kids how to use these products so they can stay pain-free just like their parents.
3. When Caused by Trauma, Grinding or an Abnormal Bite
Toothaches caused by trauma, grinding or an abnormal bite are a little more complex, and always require the professional advice of general dentists and related specialists. Trauma to the mouth may warrant emergency room care, and then lead to a follow-up with an oral surgeon and your general dentist. Excessive grinding is very common, particularly at night, and may be caused by a variety of conditions according to the American Dental Association (ADA). These include stress, an abnormal bite and certain sleeping patterns. One potential remedy for grinding is to be fitted for a mouthguard.
All of these conditions can readily be screened and treated by a general dentist, but they may occasionally involve other dental specialists depending on their severity. For instance, as kids' adult teeth come in, orthodontics may prevent further damage and pain to the teeth and gums if they've experienced some sort of trauma or have an abnormal bite.
Rest assured the majority of patients can look forward to a lifetime of smiles, and will never suffer the symptoms of toothaches with the right solutions on hand.