Very few things ruin your day quite as quickly as a toothache. The pain bothers you all day at work and when you get home and try to sleep. It even makes eating downright impossible. The only thing worse than a toothache like this is not knowing the cause of your discomfort. If your toothache persists for several days or doesn’t subside with pain medications, contact your emergency dentist right away. In the meantime, you can read this guide to the four most common kinds of toothaches and what they mean.

Temperature Sensitivity

When you consume a hot or cold food or beverage, does pain shoot through your mouth? Does it affect your entire mouth or just one tooth in particular? Does the sensitivity fade away rapidly, or does it last for 30 seconds or more? The more prolonged, intense, and concentrated the pain is, the more likely that it’s a serious problem. It could be an infection deep within the tooth that warrants root canal therapy, or even a tooth extraction. It could also be a sign of several other issues, like receding gums, worn-down enamel, a cavity, or a fracture.

Dull and Persistent Aches

This is the most common form of tooth pain. If the pain is long-lasting and minor and accompanied by gum swelling, then you may have something stuck in your teeth. Floss and rinse with saltwater to dislodge it. If the pain extends to your jaw, you might be grinding your teeth at night. Ask your dentist about a nightguard to prevent this damage.

Sharp Inconsistent Pain

If the affected tooth hurts only when you bite down on something, that might be a sign that the tooth has a damaged crown or filling. There could also be a fracture that extends to the sensitive center of the tooth.

Intense, Throbbing Pain

If your pain is serious enough to distract you from your everyday life, then you should contact your emergency dentist right away, especially if your gums or face are swelling. That could be a sign of a severe infection or abscess that, if not treated in a timely manner, could spread to other areas of your body and wreak havoc. An intense toothache like this is usually a sign that decay has reached the inner portion of the tooth, known as the dental pulp, where the nerves are located. No matter what kind of tooth pain you’re experiencing, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist if it doesn’t go away. It may be something simple like a stuck piece of food, or it may be the start of a serious problem. In either case, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

About the Author

Dr. Sara Saremi is a family and emergency dentist in Hurst, TX who earned her doctorate at Bostin University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. She also has advanced certifications in many areas, such as nitrous oxide to help soothe your dental pain and anxiety around getting treatment. If you call her practice with a dental emergency, her team will do their utmost to see you on the same day. If you’re experiencing a toothache that just won’t go away, contact Cimarron Family Dentistry at (817) 268-1112.
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