An Overview of Toothaches
Medical Treatment for Toothaches
In most cases, toothaches or jaw pain can be cared for with pain medications and antibiotics. A referral to a dentist for follow-up will usually be arranged. In some cases, the doctor may try an injection around the tooth for pain control. If there is swelling in the gums or face, or you have fever, antibiotics may be prescribed.
- At the dentist's office, fillings, pulling teeth, or other procedures may be performed as required. A tooth extraction will be the most likely procedure with a primary (baby) tooth. On permanent teeth if the problem is severe, root canals (sealing off the root of the tooth) and crown procedures are generally performed.
- An antibiotic will usually be prescribed if a fever or swelling of the jaw is present. Such procedures are generally done in stages, with pain and infection being cared for immediately, and reconstructive procedures being performed at a later time (weeks to months). You will be able to return to work or school while you recover. Dentists and oral surgeons may plan additional procedures at the most appropriate time.
- If causes other than the teeth or jaw are responsible for the pain, management will depend on the condition.
Toothache Treatment Follow-Up
After toothache treatment at your dentist's office, continue to practice good dental care. Routine and prompt follow-up appointments with the dentist should relieve your dental pain faster.
When you leave the emergency department, take the medications as prescribed and keep your follow-up appointment. If you have any concerning signs or symptoms, call your doctor.
Stopping smoking may help improve some dental conditions. If you are having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor about assistance.
Most people can avoid toothaches and severe dental problems with regular dental care. Have your dentist's telephone number easily available in case of an emergency.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Bacteria thrive on refined sugar and starch and need this in order to burrow through the enamel on your teeth. Watch what you eat and be careful about food that sticks to and between your teeth. Brush your teeth after eating or add foods in your diet with some roughage that may act as a natural toothbrush. End your meal with a salad or apple.
- Establish a good program of cleaning your teeth to remove the food particles. Brush your teeth after eating. Use a soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste as recommended by the American Dental Association. Floss between teeth daily and brush your gums to encourage healthy gums. Water jets are effective at removing trapped particles, but flossing your teeth does a more thorough job when done carefully.
- Prevent tooth decay with fluoride. Fluoride is effective in preventing tooth decay in children. Fluoride is a natural element and is found in many water supplies and vegetables. Check and see if your tap water is fluoridated. If your water is not fluoridated, your dentist can prescribe fluoride tablets or fluoride supplements for children younger than 10 years.
- Arrange to have your teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist twice a year. This has been shown to be effective in preventing both decay and gum disease. Dental X-rays may be needed every three to five years to identify problem areas.
- Keep your bridge or dentures clean. Your dentist can offer suggestions. Even if you do not have all of your original adult teeth, you can prevent new dental problems if you try these preventive tips.
- Wear a protective dental guard or headgear while playing sports to help prevent injury.
- Do not smoke. Tobacco smoking may make some dental conditions worse.