Toothaches can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful. Whether you have a mild toothache or an unbearable one, we’re here to help you find some relief until a qualified dentist can treat the pain and its underlying cause. In this blog post, we will discuss possible causes of dental pain and home remedies for toothache that may provide temporary relief until you can get an appointment with an emergency dentist in Adelaide. However, before we get to treat an aching tooth, we should know what could be the possible causes of the condition.
What exactly is a toothache?
A toothache, also known as odontalgia, is a sensation of pain or discomfort that originates from within or around the teeth and supporting structures in the oral cavity. Dental pain is a highly common and painful sensation that affects individuals of all ages. This distressing ailment can manifest in various forms, including sharp, throbbing, or constant pain and may even impact regular activities like eating, drinking, or speaking.
Causes of Tooth Pain
A toothache can be triggered by many factors and can be mild or severe, depending on your dental health and the underlying causes. There could be several potential causes of toothache linked to diverse factors, including bacterial infections, dental traumas, structural anomalies, and lifestyle habits, which can have unique implications for oral health and treatment.
One of the primary causes of toothache is tooth decay, resulting from the build-up of bacterial plaque on the tooth surface. Over time, this plaque releases acids, which erode the tooth’s protective enamel layer and create cavities. If left untreated, the decay can advance deeper into the tooth, leading to pain, infection, and potential loss.
A common cause of tooth pain is gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). This condition arises from poor oral hygiene, leading to bacterial infection and inflammation in the gums. Gum disease can cause pain, redness, swelling, and loss of supporting bone structure, ultimately impacting the integrity of the surrounding teeth.
Accidental injury or trauma to a tooth can also result in a toothache. Such incidents can cause fractures, cracks or chips in the tooth enamel, which may lead to sensitivity or pain. Severe dental trauma may even expose the tooth’s pulp chamber and nerve endings, causing acute pain and potential infection.
A dental abscess is a localised pus-filled swelling arising from a bacterial infection of the tooth’s pulp or surrounding gum tissues. This condition can cause severe throbbing pain, facial swelling, and fever. A dental abscess often requires prompt treatment from an emergency dentist to prevent the spread of infection and potential tooth loss.
Impacted teeth, particularly wisdom teeth that fail to erupt through the gum line, can lead to toothache. The pressure from the tooth pushing against the surrounding teeth and bone can cause pain, inflammation, and gum infection. In many cases, impacted teeth may need to be surgically removed to alleviate the symptoms.
Tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is a common cause of toothache, typically triggered by exposure to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic stimuli. It arises from tooth enamel erosion, which exposes the underlying dentin layer and its microscopic nerve endings. Tooth sensitivity may have various causes, including tooth decay, gum recession, or aggressive tooth brushing.
Bruxism, or tooth grinding, is a habit that can contribute to toothache. The excessive force and pressure exerted during grinding can result in worn-down enamel, tooth fractures, and jaw pain. Over time, bruxism can lead to more severe dental problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and an increased risk of tooth loss.
Misaligned Teeth or Malocclusion
Incorrect alignment of teeth or malocclusion can cause toothache due to uneven pressure distribution during biting or chewing. This pressure may lead to tooth sensitivity, enamel wear, or tooth fractures. In such cases, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct the alignment and alleviate symptoms.
Easy Remedies for Dental Pain
While you wait to see your dentist for treatment of dental pain, you can benefit from the pain-relieving properties of the following, many of which may already be present in your kitchen!
Eugenol, the active ingredient in clove oil, has strong antiseptic and analgesic properties. As such, it can be used to help relieve the pain of a toothache as well as prevent infection. To use clove oil, simply dilute a few drops in water and gargle it around your mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out. You can also put a cotton ball soaked in the mixture directly on the affected area for additional relief.
Saltwater rinses are a popular home remedy for toothaches because they are safe and effective. Saltwater helps remove debris from the affected area and reduce inflammation, making it easier for your body to heal naturally. To make a saltwater rinse, mix one teaspoon of salt with a glass of lukewarm water and stir until dissolved. Gently swish the solution around your mouth for several minutes before spitting it out. Repeat up to three times per day if necessary.
Applying a cold compress may help reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels near the affected tooth. It can also numb the area slightly — which is especially useful if you have an abscessed tooth that can cause severe pain due to pressure build-up beneath the gum line. Simply wrap some ice or a bag of frozen vegetables in a thin cloth or towel and hold it against your cheek over the affected area for 10 minutes at a time throughout the day as needed.
Peppermint Tea Bag Compress
Another remedy for toothache is to use peppermint tea bags. Peppermint contains menthol, which helps numb the affected area and reduce swelling, which can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with a toothache. Simply make a cup of tea and remove the tea bag, so it cools down. Place it on the side of your mouth where it hurts and leave it there for several minutes before discarding it. It can also be helpful to sip on peppermint tea throughout the day when you have a persistent or intense toothache. This will help keep your mouth clean while relieving the pain and swelling associated with your toothache.
Garlic is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an effective home remedy for reducing toothache pain. To make garlic paste, mince one garlic clove and mix it with some salt and carrier oil before applying it directly onto the affected area with your finger or a cotton ball. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes before washing it out with warm water.
Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse
Hydrogen peroxide is another great home remedy for helping relieve toothache pain due to its antiseptic properties, which help fight infection-causing bacteria in the mouth. To use it as a remedy, dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide with double the amount of water and rinse your mouth thoroughly with the solution twice daily until the pain subsides (CAUTION: make sure not to swallow it). It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide should only be used as directed; do not exceed recommended usage frequency or strength, as this could cause more harm than good!
Painkillers, also known as analgesics, help alleviate toothache by blocking pain signals sent to the brain. For mild to moderate tooth pain, over-the-counter options such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin are effective at providing relief. These painkillers reduce inflammation and swelling around the affected tooth, thus easing the pain.
Following dosage instructions and consulting with a healthcare professional before using any medication to relieve pain to avoid potential side effects or possible interactions with other medicines is crucial.
Oral gels, such as benzocaine-based products, present an effective solution for toothache relief by providing numbing relief to the affected area. Available over-the-counter in varying concentrations (7.5%-20%), these gels function as local anesthetics by blocking nerve signals in the oral cavity, reducing pain sensations. Oral gels are specifically formulated to combat toothaches and oral discomforts. Furthermore, certain oral gels incorporate natural ingredients like clove oil and eugenol, which possess analgesic properties that reduce inflammation and numb pain. For optimal results, you should apply a small amount of gel directly to the painful tooth or gum tissue, following recommended dosage instructions to prevent potential side effects. While these home remedies are great ways to provide temporary pain relief, it’s important to remember that they should not replace professional dental care if you’re experiencing severe pain or other symptoms, such as bleeding gums or fever that could indicate an underlying condition that requires treatment from an experienced dentist.
The Importance of Visiting an Emergency Dentist in Adelaide for Toothache Relief
Even though home remedies might offer momentary relief for a toothache, it is of utmost importance that you visit an emergency dentist in Adelaide to obtain an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for the underlying cause. Remember, natural treatments can provide temporary solace, but they do not address the root of the issue, which can lead to further complications and significant health risks.
Our trained and competent dentists have access to advanced diagnostic tools and the most up-to-date treatment options for safeguarding oral health. They have vast experience in emergency dentistry and can identify and treat underlying issues. They provide immediate and effective care and prevent the worsening of any condition. By visiting our emergency dentist in Adelaide, you are safeguarding your oral health and overall well-being, as untreated dental issues can lead to systemic health problems. Prioritise your dental care; contact us now on (08) 7078 8263!
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