What A Toothache Can Tell You

  • March 25, 2017

Remember what it was like dealing with pain as a child? Every scraped knee felt like the end of the world. Every belly ache meant impending doom. Every boo boo was sure to land you in the scariest place on earth: the doctor’s office.

But over time, you learned that whatever was ailing you could be easily remedied most of the time. A parent’s warm hug and comforting words telling you everything was going to be okay was all it took to make you feel better.

As an adult, you deal with pain in a similar way, except now instead of a parent’s reassurance, you rely on yourself to explain away those aches and pains. Your wisdom, rationality, and experience tell you that not all pain requires a trip to the doctor’s office and that everything is probably okay.

If your knee hurts when you climb stairs, for example, maybe you just avoid stairs. There. Problem solved. With this kind of logic, you can probably go for a long time without having to actually address what’s causing the knee pain, right?

But what do you do about pain that can’t be avoided? Pain that comes when you speak, when you eat or drink something, or worse, when you’re doing nothing at all? What then? How long do you let it go?

When you have a toothache, whether it only hurts when you do certain things or whether it hurts constantly, you know it’s not something you can just ignore. Not for long, anyway.

And that’s not just because of how painful a toothache can be. It’s because of how dangerous it can be.

At Family First Dental & Implant Center, we care about your health. That’s why we want you to be aware of some of the common causes behind toothaches and what you should do about them.

Do You Have Tooth Sensitivity?

-Sensitivity to hot or cold foods could be a sign of a cavity, receding gums, or thinning of your tooth enamel.  You don’t need to see your dentist immediately, but you’ll want to at least schedule an appointment for an exam for proper diagnosis.

In the meantime, you can ease symptoms by avoiding highly acidic foods and drinks to protect your enamel from erosion. You can also try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. This wouldn’t be considered an emergency, but it is important to see your dentist soon because any of the possible causes of tooth sensitivity should be dealt with early to avoid bigger problems down the road.

Is Your Pain More Intense?

-Do you only experience pain when you bite down on something? This could be a sign of a cavity or a cracked tooth. In either case, you need to make an appointment with us. If you let a cavity or cracked tooth go for too long, it could lead to an infection.

If your pain is more persistent, intense, and throbbing, it could be an abscessed tooth or an infection that’s already taken hold in your mouth. An intense toothache, especially one that comes on suddenly, is a dental emergency, and you should try to see us right away.

If you have a dental emergency, call us at 703-297-4353 and we’ll do everything we can to help you. If it’s after our normal business hours, you’ll be given another number to call, and someone will be available to help you.

Something Else?

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you know all too well that spring can bring on those unpleasant sinus infections. Nasal congestion can sometimes cause toothaches, so you may want to see your doctor if you’re experiencing tooth pain and sinus problems around the same time.

-Toothaches can also be a sign of temporomandibular joint disorders, commonly called TMJ or TMD. It’s where you grind or clench your teeth throughout the day or at night while you sleep. TMJ comes with a variety of other symptoms such as soreness in your jaw, headaches and migraines, earaches, and painful muscle tension around your face, jaw, and neck area.

At Family First Dental & Implant Center, we offer treatment for painful symptoms caused by TMJ disorders. Give us a call or fill out our online form to schedule an exam if you have symptoms associated with TMJ.

When it comes to a toothache, it’s better to be on the safe side and allow someone from our experienced team to give you a thorough dental exam so we can treat the cause before it becomes a serious health risk.

If you have a toothache, call Family First Dental & Implant Center at 703-297-4353 right away. We will do all we can to treat the pain and the underlying cause.