Ouch! If you’re suffering from a toothache, it’s no laughing matter. Your three biggest questions are probably: What’s causing it? Should I see a dentist? If my tooth is infected, will they pull it?From causes such as injury or disease to treatments such as ice or pulling infected teeth, read on to find answers from Newtown Dentistry about pain relief and improving your oral health.
Rooting Out the Cause of Tooth Pain, When Pulling Infected Teeth Is Needed, and More
You’re experiencing tooth pain for one or many reasons—and you might be surprised to learn that it’s not always due to tooth troubles.
If left untreated, many of these causes may lead not only to further damage and discomfort but also to serious health concerns. But when should you see a dentist?
You may want to first try treating your toothache at home by:
Eating soft foods
Applying a cold compress to any swelling for 20-minute intervals
Rinsing with salt water or diluted hydrogen peroxide (remember not to swallow)
Using over-the-counter medications:
Pain medication can help reduce aches and fever
Cold, sinus, or allergy medicine can help if you suspect sinus pressure on your back teeth is to blame
If your pain doesn’t subside within a day or two, it’s time to contact your dentist.
Our dentists at Newtown Dentistry will start the exam by collecting information about your toothache (where and when it began, symptoms, pain level, and if any treatments provided relief). Next, your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, tongue, throat, neck, jaw, and ears, looking for injury and signs of infection and injury. Depending on the findings, you may have an X-ray taken, too. We’ll also take information about your general health as it may provide clues to your pain or need to be taken into consideration for treatment, such as that condition’s stability.
For instances of chipped or broken teeth and damaged fillings, repair work such as filling, placing a crown, and sealing the tooth can eliminate the cause of the toothache. However, if the damage is too significant, the tooth will be removed.
For teeth sensitivity to hot and cold, your dentist may first recommend using desensitizing toothpaste unless the sensitivity has other causes, which may require bonding, fluoride treatments, gum disease care, or root canals.
For grinding and clenching of teeth, a night guard may be recommended.
For conditions such as pulpitis, root canals may be used to remove the infected pulp and seal the tooth. In addition, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any infections.
For abscesses, the infected pocket is cut open to drain. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any infections.
For gum disease, a deep cleaning (known as scaling and root planing) may be performed, and new brushing and flossing practices are introduced. Oral rinses and topical fluoride can also reduce infection.
For impacted teeth such as wisdom teeth or other teeth too damaged to heal, removal is recommended.
Can a Dentist Pull an Infected Tooth?
In those instances where removal is necessary because of damage or disease, our dentists can usually perform the extraction, although an oral surgeon handles impacted teeth (such as wisdom teeth). This involves cutting away gum and bone tissue to expose the tooth before it is gently rocked to loosen before pulling out. In more difficult locations, the surgeon cuts the tooth into pieces to make it easier to remove.
If you have limited jaw mobility or more serious damage to your tooth—such as a tooth that is already fractured or could break more during extraction—then oral surgeons also handle these procedures.
Some people wonder if there are any dangers of pulling an abscessed tooth because it could spread infection. Should it be treated first? Our consensus is no. You’ll get rid of the problem’s source and be pain-free faster when the tooth is pulled. However, if the swelling is such that it makes it hard to open your mouth wide enough for removal, you would take antibiotics first to bring the swelling down.
What Happens Next?
You will be given local anesthesia to numb the area for more simple extractions or general anesthesia to put you to sleep for more complicated ones.
After the tooth is removed, a blood clot forms in the empty socket to help protect the exposed bone. You may be packed with gauze to protect this area, and you may need stitches to close the socket hole. If the socket doesn’t form or is dislodged, a painful condition known as dry socket develops. Your surgeon will put another dressing over the hole to protect it until another clot develops.
Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time to reduce swelling
Avoid rinsing or spitting for the first 24 hours
Avoid straws (the suction can remove clots)
Eat soft foods like ice cream, yogurt, and soup for the first day or two
Limit activity for the first two days afterward
Sleep with your head elevated
Avoid smoking for 24 hours
Rinse your mouth after 24 hours with a warm salt water solution
Carefully following your recovery instructions will get you back to normal and free of pain quickly.
How Can I Avoid Tooth Pain?
In this instance, Benjamin Franklin’s saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is especially true. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily and visiting the dentist twice a year can keep your teeth healthy, with less chance of developing diseases or situations that can cause pain.
Our doctors at Newtown Dentistry know that oral health is vital to your overall health. Offering children’s and adult services, including orthodontics, we’re proud to bring you the latest technologies in the most comfortable settings.
If you or a loved one is experiencing tooth pain and wonders about pulling infected teeth or needs to schedule an exam, contact us today. Drs. Maria Morgan, Maggie Rosenberger, Nuri Eraydin, and the rest of our team look forward to helping you keep your smile bright, healthy, and pain-free.