Everything You Need to Know About Having Toothache
Everything You Need to Know About Having Toothache
November 17, 2022


Having a bad tooth that hurts is the most common dental emergency that people face. There are many different causes of toothaches, from a simple cavity to more severe problems like an infection. Regardless of the reason, a toothache can be a very painful experience.

A number of steps can be tried at home to help you get relief from toothache until you are able to see a dentist. First and foremost is over-the-counter painkillers to suppress pain. Warm salt water rinses 2–3 times a day and using a cold compress can help get relief from inflammation and provide relief.

Regardless of whether the pain is for a few days or only a few hours, it’s important to make an appointment with a dentist, as a proper diagnosis will help in finding the underlying cause of toothache. In some cases, a toothache may be a sign of a more serious problem like an infection, so you must get it checked out as soon as possible.

What is Toothache?

By Definition, Toothache is a pain of variable intensity in a tooth or surrounding areas of teeth. Toothache can be caused due to infected pulp or gums. Tooth pulp is the supply of nerves and blood vessels into the tooth that gives all sensations in form of hot and cold, pressure etc. in a tooth.

Whenever these nerves get infected, this manifests as the most common cause of toothache. Besides pulpal cause, an infected gum or an impacted wisdom tooth can also be a cause of toothache.

The usual causes of toothache are: 

  • Abscessed tooth
  • Broken tooth
  • Damaged filling
  • Gum disease
  • Infection
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth injury

How to identify a toothache 

The most common symptoms of toothache include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drainage from the affected tooth
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tooth swelling

If you are having trouble breathing or swallowing and are also in pain, you should call a dental professional as soon as possible.

If your toothache pain is around your tooth and not inside of it, sometimes the pain will go away without having to go to the dentist. If the pain is from a temporary irritation in your gum, it should go away within a few days.

Role of a dentist in getting the right treatment 

If your toothache is getting worse, despite your best efforts, you need to call your dental professional. Once at the dental office, the dental team will start by taking your medical history and asking some questions related to your medical status as

  • If you have any medical conditions
  • If you take any medications
  • If you have any drug allergies
  • The site where you feel dental pain
  • History of dental pain

Typically, a dental emergency exam involves the dentist checking your mouth for the cause of pain, identifying the root of the problem, taking X-rays if needed to come to a diagnosis and then explaining any treatment plan the dentist has for you.

If the toothache is caused by an infected tooth, the dentist may plan Root Canal Treatment or extraction, depending on the state of the tooth. Sometimes, dentists may prescribe antibiotics to control the acute stage of infection. If a toothache is due to a cavity that is not deep enough, a simple filling may get you relief and Root Canal Treatment may not be required.

If there’s an abscess or swelling, the dentist may need to do drainage of the infected abscess and also prescribe antibiotics.

If there’s a swollen gum due to any food struck in between or under gums, cleaning may be required to give you relief. In this instance, your dentist may perform a deep cleaning or recommend further periodontal therapy.

How to prevent it from happening 

Since most toothaches result from tooth decay, simple changes in daily routine can go a long way in preventing any dental problems. Remember the following:

  • Brush your teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing your teeth every day.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
  • Eat a healthy fiber-rich diet and avoid sugar-laden drinks.
  • Try not to smoke.


If you have a toothache that is not improving, it is crucial to see a dentist, as you may have an infection. Even a slight toothache can be an indicator of an underlying cavity that, if addressed in time, can help save the tooth without hefty costs at a later date. Any untreated infection can cause further sequela that may not only demand expensive treatments, losing a tooth, but at times even cause life-threatening infection.

Are you looking for emergency dentistry in Dundas? Turn to Royal East Dental. We offer emergency dentistry, pediatric dentistry, Invisalign, and root canal treatment. Book an appointment.

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