Toothaches: Symptoms, Causes and Dentist Recommendations

Little toothaches turn into big problems.

It is not uncommon for patients to ignore the start of dental discomfort in hopes that it will resolve on its own. Unfortunately a slight sensitivity will eventually turn into an unrelenting pain that isn’t always easily relieved without professional dental treatment.

Whether it’s because of dental anxiety or worry over the cost of dental treatment, patients who choose to ignore a toothache or choose not to have necessary dental treatment will eventually be faced with more complex and costly procedures. At worst, a toothache ignored for a long period of time may result in tooth extraction as the option. Not only can toothaches lead to tooth loss, they may adversely affect a patient’s overall health.

If an infection is the source of a toothache, it may spread to nearby organs, even the brain, turning an easily treatable tooth issue into a major health concern. Although everyone knows when they have a toothache, there are some symptoms that patients might not realize are caused by a tooth. For example, if there is an abscessed molar, there might not be pain directly on the tooth; it could be felt in the corresponding ear leaving patients to think they have an ear infection. A tooth in the upper jaw can have referred pain in the sinus cavity. A wisdom tooth may feel like a sore throat. Refer to our list of symptoms below:

Toothache Symptoms

  • pain around a tooth or anywhere in the jaw
  • pain while chewing
  • tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, sugar or toothbrush
  • bleeding or swelling around a tooth, gums or anywhere in the mouth
  • pus or a pimple around a tooth or gums
  • pain in or around the ear
  • difficulty or painful swallowing
  • pain or swelling felt outside the mouth such as the throat, eyes, lips or cheeks

Although many people try to put off going to the dentist as long as they can with a toothache, it’s important to get your symptoms checked out as soon as possible. Sometimes tooth, jaw or cheekbone pain may be the result of a different health issue, such as gum disease, TMJ, a sinus infection, ear infection, or even something more serious, such as a heart attack.

Toothache Causes

  • cavity
  • tooth abscess (infection)
  • gum disease
  • tumors (benign or malignant)
  • trauma
  • cracked tooth
  • wisdom teeth
  • sinus, ear or throat infection

Toothache Relief Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do try over-the-counter pain medication such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (check with your doctor first)
  • Do apply oral numbing gels around affected tooth
  • Do apply ice packs for swelling
  • Do apply moist heat for soreness
  • Don’t place aspirin on your tooth, gums or cheek (it may burn the tissue)
  • Don’t take any medication such as antibiotics or narcotics that were not prescribed for you or for your toothache
  • Don’t ignore your symptoms

Emergency Toothache Treatment

Thanks to emergency dental care, patients no longer have to suffer needlessly. At Hawley Lane Dental in Stratford, we have a same-day policy for treating all dental emergencies and injuries, such as:

  • toothaches
  • abscesses
  • broken or chipped tooth
  • lost tooth
  • lost crown
  • broken dentures
  • painful gums

Once the cause of your toothache has been diagnosed, we will outline the best treatment option for you such as a filling, root canal, deep cleaning, crowns or caps, dental bridge, dental extraction or dental implant. Call us today on (203 377 9308) to tell us about your symptoms or make an appointment for a dental exam!