Questions and Concerns About A Toothache


Although it is technically not a “holiday,” February 9th of each year is recognized as National Toothache Day. It’s a day for everyone to remember the importance of taking good care of their teeth, so they don’t end up having a toothache. Although treating toothaches is not the primary focus of an orthodontist, it’s not uncommon for us to see patients who inform us that they do have teeth issues. Here is some information about this uncomfortable condition and how dental professionals can help treat it.

What is a Toothache?

A toothache is an aching or painful tooth, usually due to some sort of infection or injury. The pain can be in the tissues surrounding the affected tooth, or inside of the tooth itself. A toothache can result from tooth decay that occurs over time, or due to an abscess — a type of infection in the root pulp of the tooth. Other causes can include a broken or fractured tooth, a cracked filling, or an infection of the gums around a tooth.

The most obvious symptom of a toothache is pain that occurs in or around the tooth. It can present as a sharp, stabbing pain or as a throbbing pain that occurs intermittently. In more serious cases, the pain is almost constant. Sometimes the pain only occurs when the patient bites down on something with the affected tooth. Toothache pain can also be caused by an infection of the gum tissue surrounding a tooth and can be accompanied by a fever or headache. If the interior of the tooth is infected, there might be a foul-smelling drainage associated with it.

When Should I Seek Medical Help for a Toothache?

Anytime the pain from a toothache is severe, it warrants a trip to your dental expert. If the pain does not subside for more than one or two days, call for an appointment. If the toothache is accompanied by a fever or headache, that’s also a warning sign that you should seek professional medical help.

The problem with toothache pain that is caused by an infection is that the infection can spread to additional parts of the face or skull. It can even invade the bloodstream and then spread to other parts of the body. Your orthodontist can prescribe antibiotics that will help to get the infection under control and prevent it from spreading and causing further problems.

How is a Toothache Treated?

Treatment for a toothache will depend on what is causing the pain. An exam will take place first to try to determine exactly why you have a toothache. This can include a visual exam and X-rays, as well as questions about the nature and severity of the pain.

If the toothache is being caused by a cavity or damaged filling that has left the root pulp exposed, treatment could be as simple as installing a new filling. In more severe cases, the tooth might need to be extracted.

If an infection has made its way all the way into the nerve of the tooth, a root canal will probably be necessary. This procedure involves removing the root pulp from the tooth and applying a sealant. The nerves inside our teeth are some of the most sensitive nerves in the body, so when they are exposed to infection, the result is almost always a very severe toothache.

Any fever or jaw swelling that accompanies a toothache will likely also mean a course of prescribed antibiotics. We should also note that depending on the type of treatment required for a toothache, we may refer you to another dental specialist, such as an endodontist, to perform a procedure.

Call Valderrama Orthodontics for an Appointment

Straight smiles and healthy teeth are what we specialize in at Valderrama Orthodontics! If you are experiencing a toothache or any other type of oral health issue, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our practice also specializes in affordable braces, Invisalign, invisible braces for adults, and other orthodontic treatments to provide our patients with healthy and bright smiles.