Sometimes the smallest of issues can turn out to be the most painful and bothersome ones. The same can be said for a toothache (medically termed as ‘odontolagia’). As simple as it may sound, a toothache happens to be one of those conditions that would leave you completely rattled and incapacitated for days on end.
Be it a gentle throb, a mild discomfort or an excruciating pain, a toothache can bring tears to your eyes within a matter of minutes and can leave you with a series of other issues like headaches, fever, bleeding of the gums, and swelling around the area etc. Before you find out how to get rid of an incessant toothache, you need to understand what causes it in the first place. Given below are some of the more common causes for toothaches in individuals.
Common Causes for Toothaches
Individuals with sensitive teeth would usually feel pain in their teeth if they eat extremely hot or cold foods. In certain cases, enamel erosion can also increase tooth sensitivity which in turn can cause toothaches while eating or drinking.
Tooth Decay and Dental Cavities
Improper dental care and poor oral hygiene can cause the teeth to develop plaque, tartar, cavities and decay over a period of time. These could cause infection in the dentin or pulp (the inner layers of the teeth), tooth damage or tooth loss, all of which would cause severe toothaches.
Also called as the third molars, the wisdom teeth that start to grow later on in one’s life could cause extreme pain during growth and eruption. Wisdom teeth are also highly sensitive; a factor which can contribute to toothaches as well.
Conditions like periodontal gum disease can cause the gums around the affected area to swell up and bleed. This would be reflected as a severe toothache. In certain cases, the gums may recede to a point where the tooth root becomes visible. This would increase tooth sensitivity and cause tooth ache as well.
Other Common Causes
Certain medical conditions like temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) or heart related disorders/diseases can cause severe toothaches as well.
Excellent Remedies for Tooth Aches
Temporary Remedies that help
Some remedies can help reduce a toothache until you find an alternate way to treat it. Most of these remedies aim at numbing the affected tooth/gums so that you won’t feel any pain (or any other sensation in fact) in the area for some time.
Placing a cloth with some ice cubes over the affected area can help reduce a toothache for some time until you get medical help. Refrain from placing the ice cubes directly over the affected tooth/gums. Rather, wrap them in a thin piece of cloth and place them directly above the affected region (on the cheek) to reduce the swelling and pain.
Salt Water Rinse
Mix 8 tablespoons of salt in a cup of hot water thoroughly until the salt dissolves completely. Pour the solution into your mouth and gargle it for about 2 minutes before spitting it out. Don’t swallow the solution.Rinse your mouth with the salt water solution at least 4-5 times to get some relief from the toothache (maybe for an hour or so). You can use any kind of salt as long as you make sure it dissolves completely in the water before you gargle it.
It is a known fact that several essential oils contain medicinal properties and can act as effective analgesics in these kinds of situations. For instance, tea tree oil contains antibacterial properties that help treat the infection and reduce the toothache as well. A few drops of tea tree oil over the affected area would provide temporary relief from an incessant toothache.
Another good example is clove oil which contains a natural painkiller called eugenol. Soaking a cotton bud lightly in clove oil and then placing the same over the affected area can provide immense relief from a toothache. Don’t ingest the oil though as it may cause discomfort. Other essential oils that could be used to help reduce toothaches include methanol oil and peppermint oil. These can be used either directly or can be diluted in water to be used as mouthwashes.
Black Tea Bags
A tooth abscess can cause extreme pain and discomfort. And while you wait for a dentist to look at the abscess, you can place black tea bags (soaked in warm water) on the affected area for a period of 5-6 hours. The chemicals present in the tea bag would drain the pus from the abscess and reduce the swelling and pain associated with it.
A very effective way to reduce a tooth ache that arises from a cavity would be to fill up the latter with onion or garlic fillings. Accordingly, squash a small amount of onion or garlic and cover up the cavity with the paste.
The antibacterial and antioxidant properties present in the onion/garlic will get rid of the infection and reduce the pain that accompanies it. You may need to repeat the process for a couple of times before you get relief from the pain.
If none of the above mentioned home remedies seem to work, you can opt for over the counter medications to reduce the toothache until you get it checked out by a dentist. Some of the regular analgesics you can take for toothaches include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, paracetamol or mefenamic acid etc.
Permanent Cures for Toothaches
Visiting the Dentist
The above mentioned remedies would only offer temporary relief from toothaches. You would eventually need to visit the dentist to find the root cause of the toothache and get it treated accordingly. A dentist would be able to cure a toothache permanently by opting for dental procedures that would treat the underlying causes for the pain. In some cases, he/she would recommend dental fillings wherein the cavities, holes, fissures and cracks in your teeth are cleaned properly and then covered with amalgam, dental cement or resin.
Root canal therapy would help treat toothaches arising from teeth that are too important to be removed. A root canal treatment would work on the inner pulp layer of the teeth and reduce the infection in the same. This in turn would reduce tootaches caused by infections at the pulp layer.
In certain cases, a tooth that is damaged beyond repair would have to be extracted in order to reduce the pain that it causes. This treatment would give you permanent relief from a toothache but cannot be applied to all teeth. Occasionally, the dentist would need to opt for a dental surgery to treat an abscess, growth or a disorder that could be causing the toothache. The surgery would be done only after evaluating the seriousness of the situation and ruling out all other possible types of treatment.
Regular Brushing and Flossing
Prevention is always better than cure. The same holds true for toothaches. Rather than trying to get them treated, it is always considered wise to take the necessary steps to prevent them from occurring. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to keep your teeth and gums clean at all times.
Follow a simple routine of brushing and flossing your teeth at regular intervals throughout the day, preferably after big meals. Removing food particles, debris and other unwanted impurities from your teeth and gums in a timely manner would help prevent plaque, tartar and bacteria buildup which could cause tooth decay, cavities and a whole lot of pain to go along with it!