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Dental pain: What are common causes of toothache?

Considering that oral discomfort is often thought of as a common concern, it’s not shocking that many young and old patients have endured a toothache at one time or another in their life. The discomfort caused by toothaches ranges and can be a sign of another problem. Determining the root cause of a toothache must be left to dentists. they have the skills needed to look after patients with dental concerns and discover the most effective method to treat oral pain. In the event that the tooth pain persists for more than two days, think about scheduling a visit to dentist office today.

What are the causes of dental pain?

What are the causes of dental pain

Your teeth are generally long-lasting and very hard-working, but they are constantly under attack from bacteria, sugar, acidic foods, and the wear and tear of everyday life. So it’s little wonder there are many toothache causes, which include:

  • Tooth decay, cracks and cavities (exposing the sensitive areas beneath your enamel)
  • Gum disease or infection
  • Wisdom tooth pain (generally occurring when new teeth are breaking through or are impacted)
  • Loose fillings (exposing nerves and other sensitive areas)
  • Dental treatment such as tooth extraction

What are the symptoms of dental pain?

What are the symptoms of dental pain

Dental pain can be a constant ache or a throbbing sensation, or you may find it comes and goes depending on what you are doing or eating.

Toothaches are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • Swelling of your gums (which could mean they are diseased)
  • Swelling of your jaw or face
  • Pain when you eat, particularly hot, cold or sweet food
  • Bleeding from your gums

Several of the typical symptoms of a toothache are lasting or “come-and-go” oral pain, fever, headaches, redness in the gum tissues, and bad-tasting drainage from the tooth. It’s necessary to stop by dentist soon to address a toothache that has persisted for many days and has resulted in ear pain, fever, or discomfort when chewing.

Medicines for Dental Pain Management

Medicines for Dental Pain Management

There are ways to manage your pain after you undergo a dental procedure or treatment. These are:


You may know them as Aspirin or ibuprofen, but non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are an evidence-based, non-opioid pain management solution for the treatment of acute dental pain. NSAIDs help by providing effective pain relief caused by inflammation in the bone, dental pulp, and gum. In fact, dentists consider NSAIDs as a first-line therapy for acute pain management. Studies found that NSAIDs taken after a dental procedure are at least as effective (or superior to) opioids for reducing frequency and intensity of acute dental pain. NSAIDs are usually over-the-counter, but your dentist may prescribe you a higher dosage based on your pain levels.


Another option for managing dental pain is the use of Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol). It’s another over-the-counter medicine commonly used to treat physical pain and fever.

NSAIDs and Acetaminophen

Your dentist may determine your level of pain requires more than a single medication. In that case, your dentist may put you on a treatment plan that involves both a NSAID and Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen has been shown to have a synergistic effect when taken with ibuprofen for the treatment of acute dental pain, with efficacy similar or superior to opioid therapy.

Prescription Pain Relief 

If you intend on having dental treatment, make sure you talk to your dentist about your pain management options. Only your dentist can best educate you on the risks and dangers of prescription painkillers.

Pain relief prescribed by dentist is stronger and treats more intense pain following major procedures. Some may simply be a stronger dose of an over-the-counter drug, but some may be opioids. These come with a high risk of addiction and are considered narcotics, so if you’re concerned about this, please let doctors know.

Tooth pain management

Tooth pain management

If you have a severe toothache, swelling or another dental emergency, it’s important to contact a dentist straight away. They can advise you about how to treat your symptoms at home to relieve pain and discomfort and avoid making the problem worse. If you need urgent care, they will recommend booking an emergency appointment at your nearest dental clinic. Completing an overall evaluation and asking about your medical history is the first step to identify the cause of tooth pain and relieve it. dentist will evaluate your mouth, gum tissues, teeth, bone tissues, tongue, and throat comprehensively. Conducting an x-ray allows them to evaluate the interior of the enamel to locate cavities that may be resulting in this discomfort.

If you can’t make it to the dentist, or your situation isn’t urgent, these general home remedies for toothaches and other dental problems could help to ease your symptoms before your visit. Remember, that this is general advice and is no substitute for professional, personalised advice. Since every situation is unique, your dentist is the best person to give you this.


The most common dental problem people typically face is toothache. If you’re experiencing dental pain, dentist recommend you follow this advice:

  • Avoid extremes of temperature, such as hot drinks or very cold foods like ice cream
  • Avoid sugary or acidic foods, especially sweets or fizzy drinks, even diet ones, as these can aggravate the pain
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol
  • Use an over-the-counter anaesthetic gel, for example Orajel, which you can buy in a pharmacy, to help relieve the pain
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth as thoroughly as possible, and rub toothpaste directly onto the sore tooth or area
  • Massage the gum around the tooth to help ease pain
  • Use cloves or cotton wool to place clove oil over the painful tooth or area of the mouth. You can buy cloves in supermarkets
  • Keep your head elevated at night. Lying down can increase blood pressure in the tooth and cause pain
  • Keep the area cold by using a cool pack or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel. Apply this to your cheek. Don’t apply ice directly to the tooth as this can increase pain and damage the tissues.

If your toothache is causing you excruciating pain, a loss of sleep and the above steps haven’t helped, call a Dental Care practice for further advice.

Wisdom tooth pain

Wisdom tooth pain is another common dental problem which you can usually help relieve at home. dentists recommend you:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater as often as you can
  • Buy some mouthwash suitable for gum problems from your local pharmacy if you can
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol to help ease the pain
  • Continue to clean your wisdom teeth thoroughly, even if it’s painful to do so
  • Keep the area cold by using a cool pack or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel

If your wisdom tooth causes any swelling, difficulty opening your mouth or difficulty swallowing, contact a dentist who can provide you with further advice.

Tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity

If you have an extremely sensitive tooth and are in discomfort, again as with toothache, we would recommend that you avoid any foods which are either very hot or cold, like ice cream or hot drinks, as well as any foods which are acidic or sugary. These can aggravate sensitive teeth.

Continue to floss and brush your teeth as thoroughly as you can and rub sensitive toothpaste directly onto the affected area. You can use normal toothpaste if you don’t have a sensitive one.

When you’re brushing with any form of toothpaste, especially sensitive toothpaste, don’t rinse it out with water or mouthwash because you’ll get rid of the benefits of the toothpaste. leave it for at least half an hour before rinsing.

Painful or bleeding gums

Painful or bleeding gums isn’t a dental emergency and is usually caused by gum disease. It can be stopped by improving your overall oral health. Make sure you clean in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes and follow up with a thorough toothbrush clean twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Sharp pain when biting

If you’re experiencing a sharp pain when biting down, avoid hard foods such as nuts or sweets. You should also avoid foods which require a lot of chewing such as baguettes or tough meats. Try to use the other side of your mouth for chewing where you can.

Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol to help relieve the pain if you need to.

Sharp pain when biting down could be caused by tooth decay, a loose filling or a crack in your tooth. It might also mean there’s damage to the pulp tissue inside your tooth, which could require treatment, such as a root canal.

If you experience sharp pain when biting, you should book an appointment with your dentist when they’re reopen for routine dental care, so they can provide a long-term solution.

Facial swelling

Facial swelling

You should contact your dentist if you have any kind of facial swelling. If the swelling is minor, your dentist may be able to prescribe you antibiotics over the phone. You can also:

  • Use a cold compress or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to bring down the swelling
  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater repeatedly until the swelling comes down

If the above doesn’t bring down the swelling or it extends up to the eye, along your mouth, or down your neck, contact your dentist urgently.

If your vision or breathing has been affected by the swelling, you are having trouble swallowing or you can’t open your mouth more than two fingers wide, visit your dentist emergently.

Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers can usually be treated at home and should heal after 10 days. If you have a mouth ulcer and want to relieve pain, you should:

  • Clean the area with warm saltwater as much as possible
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol to relieve pain
  • Use mouthwash, Corosdyl and Difflam are good examples, which you can buy from your local pharmacy, to help reduce the ulcer
  • Use mouth ulcer relief gel such as Bonjela or Iglu, which you can buy from the supermarket or pharmacies
  • Use cloves or cotton wool to apply clove oil to the ulcer, which can help with temporary pain relief

If the ulcers are caused by rubbing dentures, you might need to use a denture adhesive. If there are any sharp edges on your dentures, you might want to use a nail file to polish them back.

If the ulcer hasn’t healed after two weeks, it could be a sign of something more serious.

Pain/bleeding after a tooth extraction

If you’ve recently had a dental extraction, it’s normal to experience some pain, especially in the three or four days. It’s vital to:

  • Keep the area clean to speed up the healing process
  • Follow the instructions given to you by your dentist or hospital following the extraction
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers and Difflam mouthwash to ease pain
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salty water once it’s safe to do so (follow the advice given to you post-extraction)
  • Make sure you don’t smoke for at least 48 hours following an extraction

It’s also normal to experience some blood in your spit or oozing from the site of the extraction. If the socket is bleeding freely, bite down hard on a clean hankie or a gauze if you have one for 20 minutes. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped,

Pain following a dental treatment

Pain following a dental treatment

If you’ve recently had a dental procedure such as a tooth extraction, it’s normal to feel some pain for the next few days as your mouth recovers. During this recovery period, you can aid the healing process by:

  • Keeping your mouth and the treated area clean
  • Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
  • Taking over-the-counter painkillers as recommended by your dentist
  • Not smoking for at least 48 hours after the procedure (if at all)

If you still feel pain after several days, or you have other unexpected side effects such as bleeding or swelling, contact your dentist for advice.

Painful or damaged braces

If your braces break or come loose, you should make an appointment with your dentist rather than trying to fix them yourself, as this could damage the brace or affect the success of your orthodontic treatment.

If a wire comes loose, you can try reattaching it yourself, cutting it to a safe length so it doesn’t cause damage, or covering the end with orthodontic wax or a similar substance until you have a chance to see your dentist.


In most cases, the easiest way to steer clear of toothaches is to stick to a good home-based oral care system. Twice-daily brushing and flossing can stop the accumulation of plaque, which is considered the main cause of decay. Yearly exams and biannual cleanings make sure that oral issues are fixed sooner instead of in the future. This lets the dental care providers identify hidden disorders before they cause a toothache. A high-quality eating plan has also been shown to help stop the accumulation of tooth decay. Meals that contain calcium can keep the enamel in good shape, making it less likely for microbes to permeate.

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is a Specialist in Cosmetic Dentistry

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