The source of toothache pain can be a mystery, and there are times a person has to wait until they can tell exactly where the pain is coming from. Pain can be referred to other areas. One may feel certain it is coming from an upper tooth, yet the cause may be from a lower tooth, and visa versa. A lower tooth may refer pain to the ear; an upper tooth may refer pain to the eye area. The pain is usually due to the nerves within the tooth becoming inflamed or Infected with bacteria, or inflammation in the gums or the ligaments around the tooth. Teeth can ache from allergies affecting the sinus membranes and can be seasonal.
Temperature sensitivity and pain when biting on something can be due to many things. For example, if gum disease is present, if there is a sinus infection or inflammation, or if the ligaments have been stressed by recently biting on something hard, a tooth may become sensitive to temperatures and/or pressure. Root exposure from receding gum line areas, consuming acidic foods, or using “Tartar Control” products can lead to temperature sensitivity. If a tooth is cracked there will often be a sudden sharp pain when biting that goes away quickly. If there is a cavity (decay) a person may have pain after eating something with sugar (brushing with baking soda will often help stop the ache instantly). It helps to give the dentist thorough information, with symptoms from the beginning, to help them solve the problem.
Another symptom may be spontaneous pain; severe pain occurring suddenly for no reason, with a lingering ache. The final sign is often swelling, and no pain or steady pain may be present. If an abscess is forming, a tooth may be sensitive to touch or bite on, and it may feel loose.
Narcotics do not help toothache pain very much. If an adult can take an anti-inflammatory, such as, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen-type products, such as, Tylenol, the combination will typically work the best, and at low cost. No more than 3-200 mg ibuprofen (maximum 600 mg) and 2-Tylenol (maximum 1,000 mg) every 6 hours, can be most helpful short term, any more can damage the liver or kidneys of an adult. Also, an ice pack held on a painful or swollen area, on 10 minutes and off 10 minutes (do not freeze the skin) will help.
Symptoms may vary, and some of those mentioned above may not occur. Tooth aches can be very painful, and abscesses in the head and neck area can be life threatening quickly, so see a dentist soon if you start to have tooth problems. Similar to most diseases, once pain is felt the problem is usually in the advanced stages. By seeing your Minnesota Family Dentist regularly, and let them help you prevent pain and problems.