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Emergency Dentistry: What to Do About a Toothache?

A toothache often constitutes a call to an emergency dentist to determine the source of the pain if it’s not already clear. As it’s not always possible to see an emergency dentist right away, it’s important to follow a few simple procedures while you wait. Begin by thoroughly rinsing your mouth with warm water, and use dental floss to remove any food that may have lodged between teeth. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to your cheek. Schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Causes of a Toothache

Toothaches can occur for a number of reasons, with the most common being tooth decay. Having routine oral examinations by a professional dentist can help catch tooth decay at its earliest stages, typically before it causes a toothache. Other common causes of toothache include:
  • Infection
  • Trauma to the tooth
  • Gum disease
  • Abnormal bite
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Tooth eruption

Accompanying Symptoms

In some cases, the symptoms that accompany a toothache can help determine the root cause. For example, if you notice pus near the source of the tooth pain, there is a good chance that the tooth is abscessed. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following accompanying symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting down
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Swelling around a tooth
  • Foul-tasting discharge
  • Continuous lasting pain
Related: What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction

Relieving Toothache Pain

While you’ll likely be able to get into see an emergency dentist right away, there are a few things you can do to relieve your pain if you’re forced to wait. Begin by rinsing with warm salt water to help kill oral bacteria. If pain persists, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, or benzocaine-containing antiseptic directly to the tooth. When dealing with a toothache, it’s important to never put aspirin or any other painkiller directly against the gums near the tooth. Doing this can cause burning of the gum tissue. If there is swelling of the gums, typically due to trauma to the affected tooth, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth to help relieve swelling and pain.

How an Emergency Dentist Can Help

Emergency dentistry can be a lifesaver in this type of situation. When you visit your dentist, he or she will complete an oral examination to determine the cause of the toothache. X-rays may also be taken. Treatment may involve taking antibiotics for infection, and possibly root canal therapy to save the inflamed tooth. For more information about emergency dentistry, contact our Charlotte dentist today.
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