1. What Is Toothache?

Toothache is described as pain that occur in and around the teeth and jaws. It is a kind of pain no one wishes to have. Some even compare it to labour pain and bone pain. Toothache can make adults shed tears like babies. It can be caused by any or combination of the following:

  • Tooth decay – This is the most common cause of toothache and this leads to holes (cavities) forming in the hard surface of the tooth
  • Cracked tooth – this  crack is usually so small that it can’t be seen with the naked eye
  • Loose or broken fillings often cause toothache too
  • Receding gums- downward movement of gums
  • Abscessed tooth – tooth with pus discharge
  • Tooth fracture- commonly from eating hard chips, opening of bottle covers, bones or biting on stone
  • Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth
  • Infected gums  from bacteria or virus
  • Food getting stuck between your teeth, especially if your teeth have spaces in between them- use of toothpicks worsen this
  • Trauma to the tooth, including injury or grinding your teeth- sports, falls or accident
  • A sinus infection that can be felt as pain in the teeth
  • Periodontal abscess – a collection of pus in the gums caused by a bacterial infection
  • Ulcers on your gums
  • Sore or swollen gums around a tooth that is erupting
  • Injury to the joint that attaches the jaw to the skull (temporo-mandibular joint) etc
  1. Tooth Ache Can Be Felt In A Number Of Ways
  • Pain that may be sharp or dull
  • Continuous or intermittent(come-go)
  • Throbbing, stabbing as if something is
  •  Mild ,moderate or severe
  • Can start suddenly, Eating or drinking can make the pain worse, especially if the food or drink is hot or cold.
  • Pain can occur only when pressure is applied to the tooth.
  • Can get worse at night, especially when you’re lying down.
  • There can be swelling around the tooth
  • It can associated with Fever ,headache, earache, foul-tasting discharge  from the infected tooth
  1. When Should You See Your Dentist About Toothache?

See your dentist whenever you experience any form of pain from your tooth or gum to prevent its progression if any disease process has started.

Don’t wait till when there would be continuous, stabbing, severe, pain which often come with difficulty in chewing & swallowing of food and opening of the mouth.

This is important because the earlier you visit the dentist the better and cheaper your treatment cost

  1. What Happens When You Go to the Dentist for a Toothache?
  • Questions about the pain will be asked , such as
    • The onset of the pain,
    • Site- location
    • Duration –how long
    • Character- dull, burning, tingling
    • Severity –mild ,moderate ,severe
    • Aggravating factors -what makes the pain worse
    • Relieving factors -what makes it better
  • Your dentist will also obtain your medical history, social history and conduct a physical examination on you.
  • Your dentist will examine your jaws, mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose, and neck.
  • X-ray images may be taken, other tests can also be conducted, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing your toothache.

5.    What Treatments Are Available For A Toothache?

  • The type of treatment for your toothache will depend on the cause of the pain problem, your pocket, the peculiarity of the toothache especially the stage at which you visited at the clinic and the expertise of the dentist (sometimes)
  • The under listed treatment options may be instituted
    • Simple fillings
    • Deep cleaning with drugs
    • Root canal treatment for adult teeth with drugs
    • Other forms of pulp therapy for baby teeth with drugs
    • Extraction with/ without drugs
    • Desensitisation
    • Reduction of High contact spots-surface relief etc


  1. How Can I Reduce The Pain Before Seeing A Dentist?
  • Warm saline (Salt) mouth Rinse:

This is prepared by putting a levelled tea spoon of salt into a glass of warm water which is used to gaggle around the painful site. This is done at least 6 times a daily especially before and after meals to get relief. The warm water, the salt and the repeated rinse would help you TEMPORARILY to a great extent.

  • Use of OTC analgesics

Use of over-the-counter pain relief tablets is TEMPORARILY helpful

Note: toothache is not cured by putting analgesics on it.  In fact, it can damage your gums and other soft tissues inside of your mouth.

Other chemicals which includes battery acids, hydrogen peroxide, petrol, alcohol, etc. placed within the mouth to resolve oral are not effective and usually causes more harm to the teeth and gum.


7.    How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

  • Most toothaches are caused by tooth decay, adhering to  good oral hygiene practices is a very effective method
  • Good oral hygiene practices includes
    • brushing twice daily with a fluoride-containing  toothpaste
    • Cleaning between your teeth using a dental floss
    • limit intake of sugary foods and drinks – and consumption if at all should be restricted to meal times
    • Avoid smoking or consumption of tobacco in any form
    • Seeing your dentist twice a year for checks up.

Have you ever used any chemical substance to relieve a toothache? Share your experience.

If you have any questions or comments about this article or toothaches, please feel free to leave a comment below. 



Top 7 Tips To Choose The Right Dental Clinic For You & Your Family in Nigeria



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here