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A toothache can drive a person to find the quickest, most effective remedy: pain relievers, cold compress, warm salt water, or oil of cloves.
These remedies can provide you temporary relief.
But if your toothache seems to come and go (sometimes within just one day), aside from finding a quick fix, you need to get to the bottom of your problem.
Dealing with a Persistent Toothache
If you find yourself suffering from a recurring toothache, it is best to schedule a visit to your dentist immediately.
Your dental specialist will be able to give you the right diagnosis and course of treatment that will help you prevent the frequent appearance of tooth pain.
Knowing the type of pain and when you experience it will also help you find the most effective temporary relief.
It will also enable you to provide a detailed description of your dental issue which will help your dentist in his or her diagnosis and recommended treatment.
The most common types of recurring tooth pains are:
Sporadic sharp stabbing pains
This stabbing pain usually accompanies chewing, eating cold or hot foods, or simply opening your mouth.
This type of pain is commonly caused by a crack, cavity, or abscess inside the tooth – issues that sometimes don’t even show up on an X-ray.
A cracked tooth comes with an acute pain, especially when the broken pieces begin to irritate the pulp inside the tooth. The degeneration of the pulp and tissues can cause sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
The stabbing pain can go away suddenly, depending on the reaction of the pulp and the degree of infection.
However, it will return over and over again until this dental problem is treated.
This is an issue that requires professional dental treatment immediately.
You may need to get root canal therapy (http://www.aae.org/patients/treatments-and-procedures/root-canals/root-canals.aspx) or have the tooth extracted.
However, in case you can’t see your dentist straight away, you can drink an anti-inflammatory drug so that the tissues and nerves in your tooth can be soothed.
Avoid eating foods that are either very hot or very cold as well to prevent the appearance of pain.
Sharp, intermittent tooth sensitivity
This is a type of pain that you will feel recurrently whenever your teeth are exposed to changes in temperatures, such as eating an ice pop or sipping hot coffee.
This type of pain can also be caused by a crack, decay, or infection in the tooth.
If any of these three are the cause, a visit to the dentist is required. However, gum recession and rough brushing can also increase tooth sensitivity as well.
If gum recession is the cause, this condition can be reversed through a gum graft procedure (https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/gum-graft).
In case the condition is not yet severe, observing proper gum management and practicing correct oral hygiene habits can help with reducing the occurrence of teeth sensitivity.
You will also need to start brushing your teeth properly.
You can also use a desensitizing toothpaste when brushing to lower the level of teeth sensitivity and reduce pain.
Dull, throbbing toothache
This is the most common and prevalent type of toothache. Although the pain is usually mild, it tends to be recurring, and the deep, dull sensation can cause a person great discomfort.
The usual causes of this type of toothache are also cavities and nerve damage.
The pain usually disappears after taking a pain reliever, but this is just a temporary remedy. You will need to consult your dentist as soon as possible.
The treatment program will depend on the severity of the underlying dental problem.
Pain when eating
Since you eat several times daily, this is a type of toothache that you will feel repeatedly every day.
The pain will disappear but will return whenever you eat. In this instance, eating, which should be a pleasurable activity, will become painful and bothersome.
This kind of tooth pain is often caused by a tooth decay or dental fracture. As such, it warrants an urgent visit to your dentist.
In case your dentist cannot see you, continue practicing proper oral hygiene habits and avoid using the affected tooth for biting or chewing.
Preventing a Toothache
To avoid the appearance of recurring tooth pain:
Brush your teeth at least twice daily.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Aside from brushing your teeth, gently brush your gums and tongue as well.
Floss properly at least once a day, preferably before brushing your teeth at night to prevent tooth decay.
Minimize your consumption of sweet and starchy foods. Reduce your intake of sugary drinks, too.
It is also important that you see your dentist twice a year. Having your teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year will also help prevent the appearance of cavities – the leading cause of recurring tooth pain.
If you are suffering from a recurring toothache, don’t wait for the pain to intensify or for the frequency of the occurrence to increase.
Don’t settle for temporary remedies as well. Tooth pain is usually a sign of more serious dental and health issues.
Consult your dentist as soon as possible to get the right diagnosis and treatment that will put a stop to your suffering.
Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.
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