by Dr. Nathan Coughlin
Many of us have experienced a toothache at one point or another. A toothache can cause us to stay awake at night and be uncomfortable for days if left untreated.
Let’s talk about some ways to help alleviate pain so you can get on with your life.
Causes of a toothache
Toothaches are a widespread occurrence in North America. Tooth decay can lead to a cavity and further issues if left untreated.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria and acid eat away at the enamel of your tooth and make their way into the softer inner portions.
Pain from a toothache can be anywhere from very mild to excruciatingly painful.
Other causes of toothaches:
Wisdom tooth eruption
Grinding of your teeth at night
Losing a filling
Why does a toothache hurt more at night
A toothache is never fun, but it seems to get worse at night. A couple of theories are that we tend to sit and lie down at night, therefore causing more pressure in our mouths, which leads to worse pain.
We are also less distracted at night; therefore, we tend to focus on things wrong with our bodies. Your toothache that was causing discomfort all day may be more noticeable at night.
When to See a Dentist
You should come into our Thrive Dental office as soon as you feel any discomfort.
The cure for your toothache may be something as simple as adjusting a filling but may be as severe as needing an extraction.
Toothaches at night can be a big issue but can be prevented with regular dental visits.
How to relieve a toothache
1. Over the counter pain medicine
Over-the-counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen or aspirin will help temporarily relieve pain caused by a toothache.
The NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) will reduce swelling and pain caused by inflammation.
Never exceed the recommended dose on the bottle.
2. Saltwater rinses
Warm salt water rinses may temporarily reduce swelling and, therefore, pain caused by infections. The salt may also have a mild antibacterial quality that can help the healing process.
Rinsing with salt water may also dislodge any debris that is causing discomfort.
3. Cold compresses
Cold therapy has long been used to relieve pain. You can put on a cold compress for 15 minutes every hour.
The cold will block the blood vessels and temporarily reduce the pain in that area.
4.Hydrogen peroxide rinse
Hydrogen peroxide (food grade) should be mixed with equal parts of water and rinsed in the mouth.
It is important not to swallow any hydrogen peroxide, and this method is not safe for kids.
Some teas, such as peppermint, have antibiotic and antioxidant properties.
Sucking on a peppermint tea bag may temporarily reduce a toothache and cause a mild numbing effect due to the menthol.
Keep your head up as there is more blood flow to areas of infection. If your head is below your heart, you will increase your oral cavity pressure and cause more discomfort.
Try sleeping in a partially sitting position or try to keep your head as elevated as possible.
7. See your dentist at Thrive Dental.
As with all infections, you need to treat the cause and not only the symptoms.
Dental infections can potentially be life-threatening and, therefore, should not be left untreated for long periods of time.
Toothaches can be very uncomfortable, but there are solutions. Try these home remedies to provide temporary relief but come into Thrive Dental so that one of our team members can help you out.
A toothache may be an easy fix or require more severe intervention depending on the severity.
It is impossible to diagnose with a limited dental exam properly; therefore, it is best to come in to get on with your life.
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