Dental ProblemsTooth Ache

What to Do When You Have a Toothache

A toothache isn’t simply a nuisance, but instead serves as an indicator from your body that something is awry in your mouth. Ranging from slight discomfort to agonizing throbbing, this pain not only affects your oral health but also your general well-being.

It is crucial not to disregard a toothache, as doing so can exacerbate the condition. Therefore, it is essential to address it promptly the moment you begin to experience any discomfort.

By gaining an understanding of the root causes of toothaches and recognizing the appropriate measures to take, you can find swift relief and steer clear of potential complications.

This article will delve into effective methods for managing tooth pain and maintaining healthy dental hygiene.

Common Causes of Toothaches

Toothaches can be incredibly disruptive and can occur in various situations, each with its own specific triggers.

For instance, some people experience toothache when running, while others might notice discomfort when jumping. Consuming certain foods and beverages can also exacerbate tooth pain, such as eating sweets or drinking cold water.

Additionally, chewing can sometimes cause significant discomfort, indicating potential underlying dental issues. Understanding these various triggers can help in identifying the root cause and seeking appropriate treatment.

Here are some of the most common reasons for tooth pain:


Cavities are small holes in your teeth resulting from tooth decay. This decay is a process where the enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth, is gradually destroyed. Bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars in your food, producing acids as a byproduct. These acids can erode the enamel over time, leading to the formation of cavities.

If not addressed promptly, cavities can penetrate the deeper layers of the tooth, reaching the sensitive nerve endings and causing significant pain.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common yet serious condition that affects the gums and the supporting bone structure of your teeth. It typically starts as gingivitis, characterized by swollen, red, and sometimes bleeding gums.

If not treated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, leading to more severe inflammation, toothache, and even tooth loss.

Tooth Abscess

An abscessed tooth is a severe infection usually occurring at the root of a tooth or in the space between the tooth and gum. This painful condition often results from untreated cavities or advanced gum disease.

The infection can cause swelling, redness, and a throbbing toothache that may radiate to the jawbone, neck, or ear. Immediate dental care is crucial to treat the infection and prevent its spread.

Cracked or Damaged Teeth

Teeth can crack or chip due to various reasons like biting down on something hard, accidents, or teeth grinding (bruxism).

Even small cracks can lead to pain because they offer a pathway for bacteria to invade and infect the inner parts of the tooth. Cracked teeth might not always be visible but can cause significant discomfort, especially when chewing or exposed to extreme temperatures.

Exposed Roots or Tooth Nerves

Gum recession, often resulting from periodontal disease or aggressive brushing, can expose the roots of your teeth. Unlike the crown of your tooth, the roots don’t have an enamel layer to protect them, making them susceptible to sensitivity and pain. Exposed roots can cause sharp pain when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks.

Dental Procedures

It’s not uncommon to experience some level of discomfort or toothache following dental procedures like fillings, crowns, or root canals. This is usually due to the irritation of the tooth’s nerve during the procedure. While this type of toothache is temporary, persistent or severe pain may require a follow-up with your dentist.

Impacted Teeth

Impacted teeth occur when a tooth is prevented from emerging through the gum line, often due to a lack of space in the mouth. This is most commonly seen with wisdom teeth. Impaction can lead to pain, swelling, and infection. In some cases, surgical removal of the impacted tooth is necessary to resolve the issue.

Understanding the underlying cause of a toothache is essential for effective treatment. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe tooth pain, it’s important to consult a dentist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Dealing with Specific Types of Toothaches

Different types of toothaches often require different approaches for relief and treatment. Here’s how to address some specific kinds of tooth pain:

Sensitivity to Hot or Cold

Sensitivity to cold or hot food can be caused by receding gums, thinning enamel, or a small cavity. It can also happen after dental treatments like fillings or teeth whitening.

To prevent your teeth from sensitivity, use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Avoid extreme temperatures in food and drink, and brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Toothache Caused by Gum Disease

Gum disease symptoms include red, swollen, or bleeding gums. You might also notice a bad taste in your mouth or bad breath.

Treatment Options:

  • Good oral hygiene is essential.
  • Brushing and flossing regularly can help.
  • You should also see a dentist for professional cleaning and potentially more advanced treatments if the disease has progressed.

Toothache Due to Tooth Decay

Decay can start as small, painless spots on your teeth but can grow and lead to pain as it reaches deeper layers.

Treatment may include fillings, crowns, or root canals, depending on the severity of the decay. Your dentist will decide the best course of action.

Each type of toothache requires its own specific approach for relief and treatment. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, it’s important to identify the type of pain and its potential causes.

However, the most effective and safest approach is to consult with a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

What Should You Do When You Have a Toothache

Immediate First Aid Measures for Toothaches

When you’re experiencing a toothache, immediate first aid can help manage the pain until you can see a dentist. Here are some effective measures:

Rinsing the Mouth

  • Warm Saltwater Rinse: Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and gently swish it around your mouth. This can help reduce swelling and cleanse the area.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: A rinse with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide can help kill bacteria and provide relief. Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide with water and swish it in your mouth without swallowing.


Sometimes, pain is caused by food stuck between teeth. Carefully flossing around the affected area can remove these particles and reduce irritation.

To floss properly, use a gentle back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and down against the sides of each tooth, and avoid snapping the floss into your gums.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

  • Acetaminophen: Effective for pain relief, especially for those who cannot take anti-inflammatories.
  • Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that not only relieves pain but also reduces inflammation.

Topical Anesthetics

Use Orajel and similar products, as these contain benzocaine, which can temporarily numb the area. Apply a small amount to the affected area using a clean finger or a cotton swab. Avoid overuse, as it can lead to further irritation.

Remember, these measures are for temporary relief and do not replace the need to see a dentist, especially if the pain persists or worsens.

Home Remedies for Toothache Relief

While professional dental care is the best solution for a toothache, there are several home remedies you can try for temporary relief. Here are some effective methods:

Use Clove Oil

Clove oil contains eugenol, a natural anesthetic and antiseptic. It’s known for its ability to reduce pain and fight infection.

To apply:

  • Dilute a few drops of clove oil with a carrier oil like olive oil.
  • Soak a small piece of cotton in the mixture and apply it directly to the affected tooth for a few minutes.
  • Avoid applying it to the surrounding gum tissue.

Peppermint Tea Bags

When applied to the affected area, Peppermint tea bags can provide a soothing and numbing effect.

To apply, cool a used tea bag in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Once slightly chilled, apply it directly to the sore tooth for relief.

Cold Compress

A cold compress can help reduce swelling and numb pain. It’s especially effective if the toothache is due to trauma or swelling.

Wrap ice in a clean cloth or use an ice pack and apply it to the cheek area over the sore tooth. Do this for 15-20 minutes every few hours.

These home remedies can help in managing toothache temporarily. However, if the pain persists or you experience other symptoms like fever or swelling, it’s important to consult a dentist as soon as possible. These remedies are not substitutes for professional dental care.

When to Seek Emergency Dental Care

Sometimes, a toothache can be a sign of a serious dental issue that requires immediate attention. Knowing when to seek dental care is crucial for your oral health. Here are guidelines to help you decide:

  • If your toothache lasts more than two days.
  • If your toothache is severe and home remedies are not helping.
  • If you experience symptoms such as facial or jaw swelling, a fever, or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Timely treatment can prevent the spread of infection and save a tooth that might need to be removed. It can also provide relief from pain and help avoid further complications.

Remember, tooth pain is a signal from your body that something isn’t right. Don’t ignore it. Seeking professional dental care promptly can make a big difference in your treatment outcome and overall health.

How to Prevent Future Toothaches

Preventing toothaches is key to maintaining good oral health. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Schedule regular dental check-ups
  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • Limit your consumption of sugary or acidic foods
  • Eat a balanced diet

These preventive measures can significantly reduce your risk of toothaches and other dental problems. Remember, having good oral hygiene is an important part of taking care of your overall health.

Don’t Let Toothaches Stop You From Enjoying Life to the Fullest!

If you’re currently experiencing a toothache or have concerns about your oral health, don’t wait for the problem to worsen. Take action now to ensure your teeth receive the care they need.

Schedule a no-cost consultation with us at Hanna Dental Implant Center for professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Whether it’s a routine check-up, specific treatment for a toothache, or advice on preventive dental care, getting professional help is the best way to maintain your oral health. Book your appointment today!

Your teeth deserve the best care, and timely attention to dental issues can save you from discomfort and more serious health problems in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of a toothache ASAP?

For immediate relief, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater, gently floss to remove any trapped food particles, and use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You can also apply a cold compress to the cheek to reduce swelling and pain. However, these are temporary solutions, and you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

How can I make the pain in my tooth go away?

To alleviate tooth pain, maintain good oral hygiene, use pain relief methods like over-the-counter medication, and apply home remedies like clove oil or a cold compress. Identifying the underlying cause of the pain is essential, so consulting a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment is vital.

What can you do for unbearable tooth pain?

For severe tooth pain, over-the-counter painkillers can provide relief. You can also try numbing gels containing benzocaine. However, if the pain is unbearable, it’s a sign that you need urgent dental care. Visit a dentist immediately for appropriate treatment.

What should you do if the toothache doesn’t go away?

If your toothache persists, it’s crucial to see a dentist. Continuous tooth pain can be a sign of a more serious dental issue that requires professional treatment. Delaying the visit can lead to complications and more extensive treatments later on.

Share this article on

Dr. Raouf Hanna

Dr. Hanna, a double Board-Certified Specialist at Hanna Dental Implant Center, is renowned for his expertise in advanced aesthetic and dental implant services.

With over 20 years of experience, he leads a team dedicated to transforming smiles worldwide. Patients trust Dr. Hanna for his thoroughness, informative approach, and life-changing dental implant procedures.

Table of Contents
Test Your Dental Implant Eligibility Now
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Step 1 of 10
How many teeth are you missing?
Or give us a call at
(855) 374-2662
Related Blogs
Dental Implant