Toothache Treatments

Quick Summary
Toothache Treatments
Sharp, throbbing, or constant pain
At-home habits, misaligned teeth, wisdom tooth, fractures, decay, gum disease, etc.
Oral examination
Treatment Options
Cold/hot compress, OTC pain meds, mouth guard, orthodontic appliances, dental treatments
Good oral hygiene and regular trips to dentist
Average Cost
$15-$3,000 (depending on type of treatment)

What is a toothache?

Many people frequently associate a toothache with the need for tooth extraction, making the thought of visiting the dentist too much to handle. Fortunately, dentists now have more advanced techniques for determining the sources of the painful sensations in your teeth. What’s more, they also have more soothing and effective solutions to preserve teeth when treating toothache pain.

Causes of toothaches

There could be a variety of reasons for your toothache, some of which include:

  • At-Home Habits: Aggressive brushing and flossing may cause pain, swelling and redness around the teeth and gum line. If you notice any of these symptoms, you may be applying too much pressure during your at-home dental routine.
  • Misaligned Teeth: When your teeth are misaligned, it affects the way you chew, talk, or clench your jaw. Overtime, this can lead to aches and pains.
  • Teeth Grinding: A common problem that many people don’t realize it’s happening because it occurs when they’re sleeping.
  • Impacted Wisdom Teeth: An impacted wisdom tooth is one that never erupts through the gums. When this occurs, the tooth festers below the gums and may push on your molars, causing severe pain.
  • Damaged Dental Fillings: Dental fillings protect sensitive areas in our teeth. When they crack or fall out, those sensitive areas are exposed. This may cause pain or aches, especially when something comes into contact with the troubled tooth.
  • Sensitivity: This usually occurs with hot or cold foods and beverages. When the enamel wears down, it exposes the layer of the tooth that contains the nerve.
  • Tooth Fractures: Chips and cracks may also make their way to the tooth’s nerve.
  • Gum Disease: If your gums are inflamed or prone to bleeding, it may be a sign of an infection in the gums. If left on treated, it can cause damage to the teeth and jawbone, in addition to the gums themselves.
  • Tooth Abscesses: A tooth abscess happens when the root and surrounding tissue of a tooth are infected. It  can cause pulsating pain that radiates through the jaw.
  • Tooth Decay (Cavity): This occurs when the decay eats its way to the center of the tooth oftentimes causing sensitivity and even sharp pain.

At-home relief

  • Applying ice to the area can help reduce the inflammation
  • Over-the-counter pain medications (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
  • Saltwater rinses with warm water will help dull your discomfort clean the irritated tooth
  • Certain toothpastes can make your teeth less sensitive (Sensodyne)

Cosmetic treatment options

Cosmetic treatment options for toothaches are based on the severity of the pain and the cause.

  • Misaligned Teeth: Orthodontic appliances (such as bracesInvisalign, ClearCorrect, etc.) may be used to improve the position of the bite.
  • Teeth Grinding: A mouth guard may be prescribed by your dentist for you to wear while asleep to protect your teeth.
  • Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth can crowd and move surrounding teeth. In this case, oral surgery may be recommended to extract the wisdom teeth and alleviate the pain.
  • Damaged Dental Fillings: In this case, your dentist will dispose of the damaged filling and replace it with a new one.
  • Sensitivity: Desensitizing toothpaste may be used to help with sensitivity. In some of these cases, your dentist may apply composite materials to fill in any uneven surfaces of the teeth to prevent pain and sensitivity.
  • Tooth Fractures: Depending on the extent of the damage, the tooth may be removed and replaced with a dental implant.
  • Gum Disease: Depending on the severity, your dentist may clear up the gum disease with antibiotics. However, if it’s too far along, surgery may be necessary.
  • Tooth Abscesses: In many cases antibiotics and pain medication are prescribed. Some treatment options may include root canal, incision and drainage, dental filling or tooth extraction.
  • Tooth Decay (Cavity): Your dentist will clear out the parts of the affected tooth affected and make room for a dental filling to protect those sensitive areas.

To determine the best treatment option for your toothache, contact a qualified dentist near you. relies on sources such as professional medical organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals to write it’s articles. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, in-depth, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

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