An aching tooth can make you miserable and disrupt your daily routine. You may get temporary toothache relief from aspirin or ibuprofen only to have the discomfort rear its ugly head again just a few hours later. The severity of pain that can come from a toothache can be evidenced by patients making frequent statements like, “toothaches are worse than childbirth”, or like “toothaches are like passing a kidney stone”.
Whether you have tooth pain that comes and goes or a toothache that lingers for days, you should visit our experienced dentists and oral surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio for an examination to learn what is at the root of your discomfort. Your oral surgeon can also recommend an appropriate treatment.
Any number of factors can cause a toothache in Chicago patients. The most common culprit is tooth decay. As the cavity-causing bacteria eat away at teeth’s inner and outer structures, patients may have accompanying pain. If the decay evolves into an abscess, an advanced infection of the tooth’s root or pulp, your toothache will be even more severe.
Other causes of toothaches include dental trauma or injury (such as a fractured tooth), infection, gum disease or bruxism (tooth grinding).
Your Chicago oral surgeon may recommend a number of approaches for treating your toothache depending on its cause. If a small cavity is the problem then it can be easily filled by a dentist, thereby eliminating the toothache. Antibiotics can help to control an infection causing dental pain, while a mouthguard can be helpful when toothache is caused by grinding of the teeth.
If your toothache fails to respond to more conservative interventions or the decay has progressed too far, you may need to visit an endodontist rather than an oral surgeon to get relief. A toothache that involves the dental pulp likely will necessitate a root canal.
Alternatively, the tooth may not be able to be saved, leaving extraction as the only viable treatment option, which is where an oral surgeon will once again enter the picture. Through the comforts of sedation, he can remove the non-restorable tooth, clean out the infection, and fill that area in with a bone graft, carrying out a technique called ridge preservation. This will prevent the socket from collapsing and the surrounding bone from atrophying, thus preserving the bony ridge. This will ensure a proper site for a dental implant to replace the previously painful extracted tooth.
The pain associated with a toothache can take on many forms. It may be sharp and shooting, dull and throbbing or somewhere in between. It can be localized tooth pain or the toothache pain can radiate into the ear or temple region. You may also even have halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, from the bacteria that are causing a decay-related toothache. In addition to the discomfort, you may also notice swelling in the vicinity of the tooth, which is a sign of a potentially serious problem. If a swelling is present, if you develop a fever and chills or nausea and vomiting, then this is a sign that the infection has spread beyond the tooth and can turn into a serious life-threatening emergency. Do not delay contacting an oral surgeon immediately.
Patients should not wait out a toothache for any longer than 1-2 days. Contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 as soon as possible.