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Toothaches may seem like not a big deal, but they can really impact your activities and well-being. Even more important, they may indicate an underlying dental problem. So, how can you tell if a toothache is a serious issue or something that will go away in a few days? What can you do to get rid of the pain? In this blog post, we’ll go over everything you need to know to make the best decision about your tooth pain.

What causes toothaches?

Sometimes toothaches can be treated at home, but other times they’re caused by serious dental and mouth problems that need prompt professional attention.

Minor toothaches can be caused by food or other debris getting stuck between your teeth or gums, which can irritate your gums and cause pain. You can usually fix this by flossing, rinsing with warm salt water, and taking some over-the-counter pain meds.

However, more serious toothaches are often caused by dental and mouth problems that won’t go away on their own. Some common causes include tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, or cracked or broken teeth. These require a trip to the dentist to get sorted out.

Tooth decay

Occurs when bacteria in your mouth produce acid that eats away at the enamel of your tooth, leading to cavities and toothaches.


A painful infection that can cause severe toothaches, sensitivity to hot and cold, and swelling in the face and neck.

Tooth fracture

A cracked or broken tooth can expose the sensitive nerve endings in your tooth, causing sharp, stabbing pain.

Gum disease

Gum infections, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, can cause toothaches by inflaming and irritating the gums.

A damaged filling 

When a filling becomes loose, broken, or falls out, it can expose the inner parts of your tooth to hot, cold, and pressure, causing tooth pain.


Grinding your teeth can cause toothaches, as this constant pressure can wear down your teeth and cause them to become sensitive.


When teeth are erupting, they can cause discomfort and pain in the surrounding area, including toothaches. This is common in children as they grow and develop their adult teeth.

Sinus congestion 

It can cause toothaches, especially in the upper teeth, because of the proximity of the sinuses to the roots of the teeth. This pressure can lead to discomfort and pain in the teeth and jaw.

Cluster headaches 

A type of headache that causes severe, recurring pain on one side of the head. These headaches can cause toothaches due to referred pain, which is when pain is felt in one part of the body but is caused by a problem in another part. 

When to go to the dentist?

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So, when is it time to make a trip to the dentist?

Well, if you’ve got pain in your teeth or jaw that just won’t quit after 1-2 days, it’s probably time to see the dentist. Here are some other signs that it’s time to book that appointment:

  • Swelling in your gums or face
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Pain when you bite or chew
  • Trouble opening your mouth

Treating toothaches at home

If you’re experiencing a toothache, there are some things you can try at home to alleviate the pain before you see a dentist. Here are some home remedies to help ease your toothache:

  • Saltwater rinse: Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth with it for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. This can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  • Cold compress: Place a cold compress, like a bag of frozen peas or a cold towel, on the outside of your cheek near the affected tooth. This can help numb the pain and reduce any swelling.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve toothache pain. Just make sure to follow the recommended dosage on the package.
  • Clove oil: Applying clove oil directly to the affected tooth with a cotton ball can help reduce pain and swelling. Clove oil has natural antibacterial properties and is often used in dental care products.
  • Avoid hot or cold foods and drinks: Avoiding hot or cold foods and drinks can help prevent further irritation to your tooth and minimize pain.

Keep in mind that these home remedies can only provide temporary relief and should not be used as a substitute for professional dental care. If your toothache persists or worsens, make an appointment with one of our compassionate dentists at Sedation Dentistry of Sunny Isles.

We can help you find relief from dental pain

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If you’re experiencing tooth pain, the best thing to do is to visit a dentist who can diagnose and treat the problem before it becomes worse. At Sedation Dentistry of Sunny Isles, our friendly dentists are here to help you identify the cause of your pain and recommend a treatment plan tailored to your needs — whether it’s a root canal, filling, or other option. Let us help you get your smile back!

Contact us in Sunny Isles Beach at (786) 629-1503 or book an appointment online.