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Close up of patient getting treatment at emergency dentist in Scottsdale, AZ

Causes of Tooth Pain and What to Do

April 28, 2022
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Posted By: Serenity Smiles
Man with bad tooth pain at dentist in Scottsdale, AZ

Tooth pain occurs for various reasons and can range from mild to severe. Tooth sensitivity or mild tooth pain means scheduling an appointment in our dental office, but a severe toothache requires immediate intervention with our emergency dentist in Scottsdale, AZ.

Tooth Pain Causes

Many different things can cause tooth sensitivity and pain. In some cases, sensitive teeth have no significant point of origin—scratch on the gum, brushing and flossing too hard—and clears up without treatment.

But for a toothache or severe pain, it’s essential to call the dentist! So let’s explore a few common causes of toothache pain.

#1 Root Canal Infection

 The root canal, located at the tooth's center, contains the pulp and nerve center. If the infection reaches this area, the pain can be excruciating. Even if it starts as a minor ache, it can escalate quickly. If you have an infection, our dentists will perform root canal treatment.

Signs of root infection include:

  • Tooth sensitivity or pain
  • Blister or bump on the gum
  • Swelling in the jaw or face

If you have a root infection, emergency dentistry is crucial. Infections can spread, and without intervention, you risk tooth loss.

#2 Deep or Untreated Tooth Decay

Tooth decay means you have a cavity, and these cavities grow without treatment.

It’s often impossible to notice early tooth decay. This is because the cavity starts small and can be located anywhere on the tooth, including hard-to-see areas. But as the cavity grows, you may notice pain in the tooth and even crumbling.

Your dentist can treat your cavity with a tooth-colored filling, restoring the oral health and appearance of the tooth. However, avoiding treatment may mean needing a tooth extraction. So, be sure to see your Scottsdale, AZ dentist at the first sign of decay.

#3 Gingivitis and Gum Disease

Gingivitis, or early gum disease, requires treatment to prevent the irreversible form of the disease called periodontitis.

Periodontitis is an infection in the bones and tissues surrounding the teeth. Over time, you’re left with bone loss, gum pockets, and periodic or ongoing toothaches.

While gum disease is not reversible, your dentist can treat the condition to eliminate pain and prevent associated health concerns like tooth loss and body health complications.

#4 Tooth Injury

A ball to the face during a friendly baseball game can damage your tooth, leading to loss or pain.

Injuries to the teeth, especially if accompanied by bleeding or pain, should be reported to your dentist as soon as possible.  

#5 Broken Restoration

If your restoration, including tooth filling or dental crown, is loose or compromised, you’re vulnerable to infection and subsequent pain. If you notice a flexible restoration, contact our dental office as soon as possible.

We can fix restorations or replace them to prevent ongoing pain and potential tooth loss.

What to Do for Tooth Pain?Woman smiling outside at Stonegate Equestrian Park in Scottsdale, AZ

If you have tooth pain, you may have questions like: “Can tooth pain cause headache?” The answer is yes! As swelling increases or infection spreads, you may experience a headache, face pain, neck pain, and even an earache.

After you’ve made an emergency dental appointment with the dentist, we offer the following tips in the meantime to ease the ache.

#1 Pain Medication

You can treat your tooth pain with over-the-counter options like ibuprofen (provided it is safe for you) until you see the dentist. You can also use topical pain relievers like Orajel, intended for toothaches.

#2 Oil of Clove

Clove oil is a natural numbing agent that can temporarily ease your pain. Simply apply it to the tooth and gum area where you’re experiencing trouble.

#3 Ice Packs

When you call for your emergency dental appointment, a member of our team can talk to you about icing the area until your emergency dental visit.

#4 Head Elevation

Elevating the head when you’re resting helps relieve the toothache or prevents it from worsening until you see the dentist.

#5 Rinse Your Mouth

Warm salt water can mitigate some pain until you see the dentist. One teaspoon of table salt per 16 ounces of water is ideal. 

#6 Follow Advice

If you have sensitive teeth with no underlying cause, your dentist may recommend switching toothpaste or other tips to relieve sensitivity.

For Tooth Pain Relief, Contact Our Emergency Dentist in Scottsdale, AZ

Of course, regular dental visits for exams and teeth cleanings, and regular brushing and flossing significantly lower your risks for the most common oral health conditions that cause tooth pain.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for your next preventive dental visit or if you’re experiencing a toothache, give us a call today at (480) 400-5000.

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