Tips to relieve toothache

Possible causes

“There are many causes that can cause a toothache. The most common is the pain caused by caries, in which the nerve of the tooth hurts. Other structures such as the gum or ligament that supports the root may also hurt. Oral infections, which may be due to different causes, usually present with pain. In addition, there are pains that are attributed to the teeth and that are not caused by them, such as irradiated pain or neuralgia, ”explains Tomás Gastaminza, president of the College of Dentists of Guipúzcoa (COEG).


Izquierdo states that we could attribute the toothache to different causes:


The first and most frequent, due to the presence of an untreated caries, but it can also appear after a very large filling, or filling, that has affected the nerve of the tooth.

It may be related to the eruption of the third molars (or wisdom teeth), since being the last to erupt in the mouth sometimes they do not have enough space to do so, causing pain and inflammation in the area.


Very often, the pain occurs after the fracture of the tooth enamel (when chewing something hard), or by the appearance of fissures or cracks - often not visible - related to the usual and harmful habits of bruxism (or grinding of teeth ) or by tightening habits.


Finally, when the pain is intense and of short duration it could be due to a problem of dentinal hypersensitivity, related to the loss of gum and the consumption of excessive drinks and acidic foods together with dental wear that can be produced for different reasons.

Why bruxism?

“Bruxism, a very frequent activity, often causes toothache due to the overload caused by clenching of the jaws or fractures in the molars. It can also cause muscle or temporo-mandibular joint pain that can be confused with toothache, ”says Gastaminza.


Pathologies that can cause chronic or recurrent pain

There are long-term pathologies that can occur with pain or discomfort in the mouth. The most frequent, according to the president of COEG, are “periodontal disease or periodontitis, tooth sensitivities due to gum retractions, abrasions or wear due to bad brushing or chemical causes (acid reflux of the stomach, excess vinegar, carbonated drinks, among other). In addition, dry mouth or xerostomia causes a lot of discomfort and increases the appearance of caries. The burning mouth or burning tongue is a nervous pathology that causes a lot of discomfort to the patient. ”


Tips to relieve toothache

Experts offer the following recommendations to combat toothache:



We advise against self-medication as the only measure, and even more the use of antibiotics, says Izquierdo. In this regard, Gastaminza adds that if we self-medicate, we run the risk of taking wrong medications or in inappropriate doses.


Your trusted dentist will prescribe the most appropriate treatment according to your case and, above all, solve the cause of your pain to prevent it from perpetuating or getting worse.

You have to go to the specialist at the first symptom to put a solution as soon as possible, thus avoiding more complex solutions.


Masking pain with painkillers will not solve the problem. Commonly used pain relievers can temporarily relieve toothache, but if the cause that causes it is not treated, this pain will not go away, with treatment in some situations becoming more complex.


The SEPA member concludes by pointing out that “the best advice is to prevent the toothache from appearing. And it is easier than we think if proper care is followed at home every day and with periodic reviews. ” The president of COEG agrees that the best thing to relieve toothache is to prevent it. “If we go to the dentist every six months or every year and do a good maintenance, we greatly reduce the risk of having pain. If it appears, you must go to the dentist to make a diagnosis and establish a treatment. If the pain appears at some time when we cannot go to this specialist, you can take a mild pain reliever, and if the pain is very strong or has other symptoms, go to the emergency room. ”

How long can that pain last? When to go to the specialist?

“If there is a slight minor discomfort we can wait a few hours to see how it evolves. But if the pain does not stop or the discomfort goes further it is better not to wait and go to the dentist as soon as possible. 

Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


Leave a Comment