Toothache Questions Answered


If you have ever had a toothache, you know how frustrating and painful the experience can be. Toothaches can come on suddenly or worsen over time if treatment is not immediately sought. Good oral hygiene habits, coupled with regular visits to your dentist, can usually prevent toothaches from developing. However, there is always a risk that tooth pain could occur despite your best efforts to maintain a healthy smile.

There is a lot that is still not known about toothaches, their causes, and how they are diagnosed and treated. In honor of National Toothache Day on February 9th, we will be addressing some of the most common questions about toothaches and how to handle them.

Common Questions and Answers

Q: Why does my tooth hurt?

A: Toothaches can have a number of causes, such as tooth decay, tooth fracture (broken tooth), a damaged filling, infected gums, or repetitive motions like gum chewing or teeth grinding. If a bacterial infection forms inside the tooth, it can create an abscessed tooth that causes pain.

Q: What are the symptoms of a toothache?

A: Beyond the pain itself, you may experience other symptoms that could indicate an underlying problem. Some common symptoms of a toothache include swelling around the tooth, headache, fever, a bad odor from the mouth, and foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth. Tooth pain may be throbbing, sharp, or constant.

Q: Will a toothache go away on its own?

A: There are circumstances in which a toothache will go away on its own, such as when something is stuck in between two teeth and it is removed. However, if the underlying cause requires intervention from a dental professional, you will need to undergo dental treatment to get rid of the toothache.

Q: Can I treat a toothache at home?

A: If you have a toothache, schedule a visit to see your dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can help diminish the pain by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or aspirin. Swish a mouthful of hydrogen peroxide and spit it out to help reduce inflammation. Never swallow hydrogen peroxide.

Q: Do I need to see an emergency dentist?

A: There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Whether you need to see an emergency dentist will depend on several factors, such as the amount of pain you are in and what other symptoms you are experiencing.

Q: What will the dentist do for my toothache?

A: When you visit a dentist about a toothache, you will be asked questions like when did the pain start. You may also be asked to describe your tooth pain, such as throbbing, sharp, or persistent. Your dentist will likely take X-rays to get a better look at the affected tooth. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. For example, if the toothache is caused by a cavity, your dentist may recommend a filling to remove the decay and restore the tooth.

Q: What happens if there is an infection?

A: Along with your toothache, you may have signs of a possible infection, such as redness or swelling. If your dentist suspects an infection, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic. Be sure to follow all instructions provided by your dentist and complete the entire prescription to ensure that the bacteria is killed.

Q: When should I see my dentist for a toothache?

A: Consider scheduling an appointment with your dentist if you have had a toothache that has lasted longer than one to two days, if your toothache is severe, if you experience swelling in the face or mouth, or if you have a fever, pain, or earache when you open your mouth wide.

Q: How can I prevent a toothache?

A: There are many things you can do to prevent a toothache. Practice good oral hygiene at home by brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily and see your dentist twice a year for a professional exam and cleaning.

Schedule an Appointment with Bonham Dental Arts

A toothache is a common problem that can often be remedied quickly with the help of a reputable dentist. For excellent dental health and wellness, contact Bonham Dental Arts today. We will answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have.