Chances are, you don't think about your teeth much except while practicing your daily oral hygiene routine. And even then, your mind will be busy planning your day or trying to remember last night's dream.
However, a toothache is a painful reminder of the fragility of your teeth, one which can cause disruption in your life. Even fairly mild localised pain can become distracting quickly. More major toothaches change the way you eat, speak and smile almost immediately.
Unfortunately, there're no guaranteed answers to most questions about your toothache. But in this blog, we guide you through common causes, telltale symptoms and sure signs you should see your dentist.
What Causes Toothaches?
Though your teeth have a strong outer layer of enamel, they connect to a network of sensitive oral nerves. These nerves exist inside each tooth as well as in the soft tissues of your mouth. Toothaches indicate irritation of or damage to these nerves.
Common causes of toothaches include the following:
Abscess or other oral infection
Bruxism, also called tooth grinding
Chipping or fracturing of a tooth
Lost or damaged filling, bridge or crown Untreated cavities and tooth decay
You are more likely to experience tooth-related discomfort if you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), frequent headaches and certain chronic diseases. Always discuss your medical history with your healthcare providers to rule out non-dental causes of tooth discomfort.
How Do Toothaches Manifest?
Toothaches can appear at any time, in patients of any age. Most patients describe a combination of one or more of the following symptoms:
Change in taste -If you have an infected tooth or section of gum tissue, you may notice a foul taste in your mouth that doesn't disappear when you eat or drink. The change usually results from wound discharge.
Headache -Your teeth, jaw and facial bones can easily be affected by each other. You may experience headaches before, during or after a toothache.
Tooth pain -Tooth pain can come in many forms, from sharp to achy and from throbbing to constant. Additionally, your tooth pain may only appear when you eat sugary or acidic foods, put pressure on your teeth or expose your teeth to heat or cold. All these pain types qualify as a toothache.
Because toothaches can result from a number of different causes, their symptoms vary. Some patients experience dull pain that comes and goes, while others report intense, focused pain over extended time periods. Take note of your symptoms before you have your appointment as these effects can help your dentist identify the cause.
When Should You See Your Dentist?
If you have brief, mild discomfort, you may get away without a trip to the dentist. However, most toothaches require professional evaluation and treatment for them to disappear.
You should see your dentist as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:
Difficulty opening your mouth, chewing or speaking
Discomfort lasting for two or more days
Earaches or localised discomfort around the ears
Extreme pain, even if you only feel it intermittently
Inability to properly care for your teeth due to the pain
Visible changes to your teeth, gums or oral tissues
If you develop fever, lightheadedness or other sudden and serious symptoms, seek medical attention from your general practitioner or from an emergency dentist. These symptoms may indicate infection or a different pain source, such as an advanced sinus infection.
If you have a history of tooth sensitivity, decay or aches, bring up your concerns during your next appointment at Dental Smile Clinic. Your dentist can develop a hygiene, appointment and procedure plan based on your specific circumstances. With some simple proactive measures, you should be able to avoid most future toothaches.
The time has come. You brush and floss your kids' teeth every day, but it's finally time for their first official dentist appointment. You know how important it is to attend regular dentist appointments. You want your kids to have good oral health for life and don't want them to develop a fear of the dentist or feel anxiety about dental visits.
To ensure your kids have a good experience on their foundational visit to the dentist, prepare them properly before the big day.
Schedule the First Visit Early
Most experts advise that children see a dentist sometime before their first birthday. The earlier you can get your kids in to the dentist, the better. If they start early, they'll be familiar with the process and know what to expect as they get older.
However, if you missed that first early visit, it's not too late to establish good oral health for your kids. Get them in to see a dentist as soon, and as young, as possible.
Go to a Family-Friendly Dentist
What kind of dentist you choose matters. Even if you love your own dentist, they may not be right for your kids.
Choose a dentist who regularly deals with children and families. Many dentists' offices have long experience dealing with children and will happily accept appointments for the whole family. Your kids will likely have a better time if their dentist knows how to appeal to children.
Remember it's not just the dentist who will deal with your kids. Everyone from the front-office staff to the oral hygienist will also interact with your children and contribute to their first dental experience. Choose an office that knows how to make a positive first impression.
Explain Why You Go to the Dentist
Before their first visit, explain to your kids why it's important to go to the dentist. Talk, in a kidfriendly way, about how the dentist uses special tools to make their teeth squeaky clean again.
Use metaphors or imagery that are easy for kids to understand. Decide, based on your children's personalities, whether to tell them how little cavity bugs hide in their teeth and the dentist needs to clean them off, or whether to just say you need the dentist to keep teeth healthy and strong.
Tell your children what you personally like about going to the dentist. Maybe you like when the dentist polishes your teeth or takes an X-ray. Relay your own experience to give your kids a positive impression of what to expect.
Show Your Kids Positive Media
Familiarize your children with the environment and equipment they'll see at the dentist's office. Show them pictures and videos of kids at the dentist and images of the tools the dentist uses to clean their teeth. Find episodes of kid-friendly TV shows that address dental visits, and watch them with your children.
Expose your children to a variety of positive media about dental visits. If they know what things look like and what to expect before they get to the office, they'll be less intimidated by the dental environment.
Give Your Kids Something to Look Forward To
Offer your children a treat or special event for after their dentist visit. Maybe they'll get to spend a day at the zoo, or just go out for ice cream after their appointment. Give them a positive event to look forward to so they approach their first visit to the dentist with happy anticipation.
With the right preparation, you can help your kids establish a positive relationship to dentists and oral hygiene. Promote a good attitude before their first dental visit and build a healthy foundation for the rest of their lives.