Everyone occasionally in life experiences a toothache, most often due to a cavity (aka dental caries), an infection of the tooth that is the second most common disease (the common cold is the only one that is more common). Generally, this is the result of not brushing and flossing thoroughly, so the best prevention is to check with your dental hygienist about the proper way to do these. She may recommend adding to your routine a water flosser, using a small bristled brush to clean tight spaces, or a dentist-grade mouthwash. And be sure to have her do a professional cleaning at least twice a year.

If the toothache is manageable for a couple of days, you can set up an appointment with Pacific Dental Care and meantime use an OTC pain pill (or an old home remedy, putting clove oil on the tooth). If it is too painful, you can immediately go to an urgent care to have the cavity removed, if that is the cause of the pain, and filled with composite resin, a neutral material. In some cases, an old filling may have just come loose after biting into something hard or sticky.

There are Many Factors that Result in Toothaches

But there are other possible causes of toothaches. One of the most serious, which can cause intense pain, is the infected roots of a tooth. In that case, we can do a “root canal,” the popular term that confuses where the infection takes place with the procedure that cleans it out and fills in the roots with a neutral material to avoid future infections. Root canal therapy is 90% effective the first time. However, if the tooth is too far gone, it will need to be removed and replaced with a dental implant or a bridge, to keep your bite from misaligning.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the very last teeth at the back of both sides of both upper and lower arches, emerge late and cause overcrowding so often that they are often removed during the teen years to prevent problems like periodontal disease. Until then, however, the pressure they bring can cause toothaches.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the result of not adequately removing food particles by brushing and flossing, resulting in bacterial film forming around them called plaque that sticks to the teeth and causes the gums to pull away their support. At first this may not be painful, but bleeding gums are the first indicator, then soreness, pain when chewing, and, untreated, the tooth will fall out or need to be extracted. The neighboring teeth naturally lean in to “fill the gap,” causing them to become loose and a chain reaction begins that results in misalignment of other teeth, many of which will be lost. 

It is important to have two full dental examinations twice a year so that Dr. Marine can detect potential toothaches early. Call today to set your next appointment.