A recent news story reported that a 25-year-old woman ended up in the emergency room with fatigue, shortness of breath, and… she was turning blue. The cause? Using large amounts of topical benzocaine – to try to stop the pain of a toothache. While an incredibly rare side effect, the attempt to compensate for tooth pain created unnecessary suffering and a hospital stay for a patient who could have simply seen her dentist for her toothache instead of trying to numb the pain. Because the reality is, you can’t fix a toothache with any over-the-counter pain relievers. You need a dentist.
Causes of Tooth Pain
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen work well for the right kind of patient and the right kind of pain. Toothaches, however, are a different creature altogether. When your tooth hurts, there really isn’t anything that can offer a complete reprieve from the discomfort except a dental restoration.
You may attempt to wait out the pain, trusting that it will eventually fade, but once a tooth is compromised, there is no going back to good health without a dentist’s help. It will hurt and keep hurting until it wreaks so much havoc that you’ll have more than just one problem tooth in your mouth.
A toothache could indicate several possible problems:
- Cavity: When you have a cavity, you may experience tooth pain. If you see your dentist every six months as you should, though, you should never experience the full-blown pain of a large cavity. X-rays once a year catch any dark spots so small tooth problems can be fixed with tooth-colored fillings before they become big problems.
- Infection: An abscessed tooth has a pocket of pus around its root, and the problem will cause a mighty toothache. It needs to be treated right away, often with root canal therapy, or the infection could spread to the jaw, neck, head, and beyond.
- Broken tooth: A tooth fracture may seem like a surface problem if it’s merely unsightly. However, broken enamel means there is an opportunity for bacteria, food particles, and plaque to set up shop inside your tooth and deep down into the pulp. When a broken tooth begins to hurt, there are problems under the gum line.
- Gum disease: Infected gums don’t mean that your teeth are out of danger. In fact, it’s the opposite. A gum infection not only causes pain and discomfort, it affects your teeth, causes the gums to pull away from the enamel, allows infection to settle in, and, eventually, results in tooth loss.
Fix Your Toothache
You know a toothache when you feel it, but other signs of an oral health problem include swelling, red gums, jaw pain, a bad taste in the mouth, pain when chewing, fever, even swollen lymph nodes.
While it can be scary to think of the discomfort you might feel at the dentist, rest assured that at Family & Cosmetic Dental Care in Johns Creek we take every precaution to make you feel comfortable. We practice gentle dentistry and are focused on minimizing any anxiety as you undergo the dental restorations that will eliminate your pain.
Sedation dentistry is an option for the most anxious patients. No matter what, remember: Going to the dentist isn’t going to cause you pain. The dentist is there to help rid you of your pain. Contact the general dentistry and restorative dentistry office of Dr. Mitul Patel in Suwanee to schedule your appointment.