Educate yourself about toothaches.

When we give our teeth the care they need, they stay strong and durable enough to last us an entire lifetime. As we age, however, the needs of our teeth change. Our enamel often thins as we get older and we’re more likely to develop medical conditions that make us more susceptible to cavities and gum disease.

Even if you’ve never had a toothache before and have always taken great care of your teeth, you may begin struggling more with your oral health as you get older. You may even experience a toothache for the first time. If you’ve never had a toothache before, you may have trouble judging just how serious the problem is or knowing what you should do about it.

There are many different types and causes of tooth pain, so knowing how to handle your toothache is an important step in ensuring you get the care you need in a timely manner. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide that will help you learn how to handle a toothache.

Categorize the type of toothache you’re experiencing.

There are several different types of tooth pain, including tooth sensitivity, pain that is dull and nagging, sharp and intermittent, or severe and throbbing. Each of these types of pain has a range of potential causes. Determining which type of pain you’re experiencing will give you a better idea of the oral health concern you’re likely facing and how quickly you need to get in to see Dr. Tyler. Any time you’re experiencing new tooth pain, even if it’s minor, it’s vital that you schedule an appointment. You can request an appointment quickly and easily online—no need to even call our office! A toothache is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, so you need to listen!

Tooth sensitivity can range from a mild sensation to short-lived but strong, sharp pains, and often appears in response to hot or cold temperatures or sweet foods. It can be caused by enamel erosion, gum recession, a cavity, or an abscess. A dull, nagging toothache is often relatively mild but constant and can feel like it’s located deep in your jaw. It can usually be treated by taking over-the-counter pain medication, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek treatment. The culprit causing this type of tooth pain is often a cavity, but it can also be caused by nerve damage or grinding your teeth.

Sharp, intermittent pain often comes and goes in response to eating, hot or cold temperatures, or even simply opening your mouth. Its severe nature means it’s not easily ignored or treated by over-the-counter pain medications. This type of pain can indicate a cracked tooth, a cavity, or an abscess. Severe, throbbing pain is similar but constant and impossible to ignore; it often indicates a severe cavity, infection, or abscess.

Determine if your pain requires an emergency dental appointment.

While all toothaches need to be treated by a dentist, some can wait until your next appointment, while others are deemed dental emergencies. But how do you know when you need to call your emergency dentist? The biggest factor is the severity of your pain; you can likely wait for an appointment if you can easily forget the pain by focusing your attention elsewhere. If your pain is severe—especially if over-the-counter pain medications don’t knock it out—you should schedule an emergency appointment.

A severe, throbbing pain is often a dental emergency, especially if it’s accompanied by swelling, pus, or a fever. Additionally, dental injuries like a knocked-out or severely broken tooth are dental emergencies, especially if the broken tooth has created a sharp, jagged edge in your mouth. In any of these cases, you should call the emergency dentist right away and get into the office as quickly as you can.

Manage your pain until your appointment.

There are several ways you can manage tooth pain, whether you’re dealing with an emergency appointment and need to manage your pain while you drive to our Duvall, WA, office or need to manage lower-level pain for a few days until you see your dentist. Over-the-counter pain medication can significantly lower your pain level, but there are several other options you can try, such as clove oil, which has been used to naturally relieve tooth pain for generations, and icing the area. If you ice the area, however, you should be careful not to leave the ice on for too long or you can actually do more harm than good. Stick to a schedule where you keep the ice on for 15 minutes, then leave it off for at least 15 minutes.

Don’t worry about your dental insurance coverage.

Even minor toothaches need to be treated relatively quickly—otherwise, they can worsen into larger, more severe issues. Unfortunately, many people feel like they have to put off dental treatment because they don’t have dental insurance. At Duvall Dental Center, however, you don’t have to worry about that; it’s okay if you don’t have dental insurance! We offer in-house dental plans that will help you get regular dental care and the treatments you need when you need them. Under these plans, regular dental care like your yearly professional cleanings and an x-ray are completely covered, and other treatments like fillings or dental crowns are offered at a discount. We also offer financing options like CareCredit and LendingClub so that you can split your bill into small, affordable payments that fit into your budget.

Take steps to prevent future toothaches.

Once Dr. Tyler has determined the cause of your toothache, you can take steps to prevent the problem from happening again. The best way you can protect your oral health for the future is to really commit to a great oral hygiene routine. You should brush your teeth for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day, floss and use mouthwash at least once a day, and visit Dr. Tyler for a regular appointment every six months. Make sure that you get a mouthwash that’s designed to help fight against cavities or gum disease instead of just making your breath smell better.

Paying attention to the warning signs in your mouth can also prevent any problems from getting severe enough to cause a toothache. Persistently bad breath or your gums bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth, for example, are major warning signs of gum disease. When you notice symptoms like this, you should request an appointment with Dr. Tyler on our website or call and schedule a time that suits you—before the problem gets severe enough to begin causing you pain.

Just like the rest of your body, your mouth needs a little more attention as you begin to age, so ending up with a toothache isn’t uncommon. Knowing how to handle a toothache, taking steps to get it treated quickly, and learning how to prevent future toothaches can make all the difference in your long-term oral and overall health. If you’re suffering from a toothache, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tyler online or call and schedule an emergency appointment right away.