What Is a Toothache?
A toothache is any type of pain that you feel in or around your tooth. Toothaches are a common way of your body telling you that there’s a problem. Sometimes, they may be accompanied by swelling, fever, headache, bad breath, or even drainage if the tooth has become infected. Most often, toothaches are a sign that there’s something wrong with your tooth or gums.
You should never ignore a toothache. It’s our job to determine the root cause of your pain as Dr. Bassford is trusted among her peers and patients to diagnose and treat dental issues with precision and care.
While toothaches aren’t usually life-threatening, some cases can be signs of serious conditions that should be treated as soon as possible.
What Does a Toothache Feel Like?
Toothache pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the cause. You may experience the following sensations when dealing with toothaches:
- Throbbing pain or swelling in or around the tooth
- A sharp pain when you touch or bite down on the tooth
- Achiness or tenderness in or around the tooth
- Sensitivity in your tooth in response to hot or cold temperatures
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please call our Silver Spring office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bassford to ensure you get the care you need.
Causes of Toothaches
There are several reasons you may be experiencing a toothache. Sometimes, the cause of toothaches can be linked to other parts of the body. For example, a change in hormones can lead to increased blood flow to the gums and cause gum sensitivity. Stress can cause you to grind your teeth, resulting in temporomandibular joint disorder, also called TMD.
Other common causes of a toothache include:
- Tooth decay
- Broken tooth
- Infected gums
- Chewing gum
- Damaged fillings
- Abscessed tooth
When to See Dr. Bassford
Not every toothache demands a trip to the dentist. However, you’ll know when it’s time to put an end to your pain and restore your oral health. Please visit Dr. Bassford if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- Pain that’s lasted longer than one to two days
- Severe pain
- You have a fever, headache, or pain when opening your mouth wide
- Swollen or red gums
- You have discharge or pus coming from your tooth or gums
What to Expect During Your Appointment
During your appointment with Dr. Bassford, she’ll examine your oral health and may take diagnostic tests such as x-rays, to get a more detailed look at your teeth and gums. She’ll ask you for details about your toothache such as the location, severity, and what makes the pain better or worse. Once she determines a diagnosis, Dr. Bassford will curate your customized treatment plan to alleviate your pain and improve your oral health.
When Toothaches Are Considered an Emergency
Severe tooth pain can sometimes be considered a dental emergency. If that’s the case, we’ll want to get you in sooner to prevent further damage. If you experience the following symptoms accompanied by your toothache, seek emergency treatment:
- Swelling in the jaw or face, which may be a sign of a spreading infection
- Chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or other signs of heart attack
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Wheezing, a cough that won’t go away, or coughing up blood
Please call our Silver Spring office at (301) 593-5500 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bassford as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes accidents happen and not all toothaches are preventable. However, by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing between meals, you can prevent a number of toothaches.
In addition to following regular oral hygiene, you’ll want to schedule biannual appointments at our Silver Spring office so we can perform a thorough cleaning and examination.
This will rid your mouth of plaque and tartar that lead to tooth decay. During these appointments, we can catch any issues before they become problematic and require more invasive procedures.
There are various ways you can attempt to remedy your pain at home, including:
- A saltwater rinse
- Hydrogen peroxide rinse
- Cold Compress
- Vanilla extract
These treatments may help mask the symptoms temporarily, but if the problem persists longer than 1 to 2 days, you’ll want to contact our office to schedule an appointment by calling (301) 593-5500. We’ll help put an end to your toothache.
Here are a few ways to reduce the pain so you can sleep:
- Keep your head elevated
- Avoid eating acidic, cold, or hard foods before bed
- Use a mouthwash
- Apply a cold compress
If you can’t sleep through the night because your pain is severe, give us a call and we’ll help you on your road to recovery.
The ER rarely has dentists on staff to treat specific issues related to your oral health. They may prescribe antibiotics or pain relievers to help the problem temporarily, but they’re not specialists in the field. They’ll typically refer you to see a dentist following your visit.
However, if you have a cut that won’t stop bleeding, you’ll want to go to the emergency room for stitches. In the meantime, you can control the bleeding with gauze or a compress.
Dr. Bassford Can Alleviate Your Toothache
Toothaches are hard to ignore and can make you miserable, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Contact our Silver Spring office to schedule an appointment by calling (301) 593-5500. We’ll solve your problem and put your oral health back on track.