Toothache or tooth pain can often be caused when the nerve to a tooth is irritated, but there are numerous other causes for tooth pain. A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth that may be caused by:
• Tooth decay
• Abscessed tooth
• Tooth fracture
• A damaged filling
• Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth
• Infected gums
HOW IS TOOTHACHE DIAGNOSED?
To treat the toothache, the dentist will first obtain medical history and conduct a physical exam. He or she will ask questions about the pain, such as when the pain started, how severe it is, where the pain is located, what makes the pain worse, and what makes it better. The dentist will examine mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose, and neck. X-rays may be taken as well as other tests, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing the toothache.
HOW IS TOOTHACHE TREATED?
Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth's nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling of the jaw. Occasionally, phototherapy with a cold laser, usually in conjunction with another treatment, may be used to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the toothache.
DID YOU KNOW?
One can prevent the majority of dental problems by flossing, brushing, and using many different products, such as xylitol- and fluoride-containing rinses and toothpaste, and having teeth professionally cleaned on a regular schedule. The dentist may apply sealants, varnishes, and fluoride, which are especially important in children but can also be valuable to adults and the elderly, to