A toothache is different from sensitive teeth, which react to hot and cold temperatures or sweet and sour sensations. Pain from a toothache may be constant, sharp or throbbing. There may be swelling around your tooth and you may experience a fever or headache. If a tooth has become infected there may be a foul-tasting liquid in your mouth. If the pain is severe, lasts longer than two days, or is accompanied by a fever, find a dentist who will examine you immediately and determine the cause.
A toothache is usually the result of tooth decay, a tooth fracture, or a filling that has been damaged. Sometimes it may be caused by a gum infection, an abscessed tooth, or nerve damage caused by grinding your teeth. In other circumstances a toothache may be caused by an injury or a sinus infection. Patients whose wisdom teeth have not yet come in may be experiencing an impacted tooth. All of these conditions need to be evaluated and treated by a dental professional so your condition does not become worse. Be sure to tell you dentist when your toothache started, how severe your pain is, what increases or decreases the pain, and any other symptoms you may be experiencing.
If your toothache is caused by a cavity, a simple filling may be the solution. More extensive damage to the enamel may require a crown or veneer. If you have an infection from an abscessed tooth, your dentist might prescribe antibiotics. Some dentists may use cold laser therapy to reduce pain and inflammation around the gums. For patients who grind their teeth, the dentist may be able to provide an appliance that is worn in the mouth while sleeping. If there is extensive damage you may need to find an endodontist to perform a root canal or an oral surgeon to extract the tooth.
Most toothaches can be prevented by following good oral hygiene routines, including flossing and brushing. You should also visit your family dentist at least twice a year to find and repair small problems before they become big toothaches.
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