William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Toothache facts
- What is a toothache?
- What are dental causes of toothaches and how are they treated?
- Dental cavities and dental abscesses
- Gum disease
- Tooth root sensitivities
- Cracked tooth syndrome
- Temporalmandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
- Impaction and eruption
- What are non-dental causes of toothaches?
- How is toothache during pregnancy managed?
- Are home remedies effective for toothaches?
- Can toothaches be prevented?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Are home remedies effective for toothaches?
If a visit to the dentist is not immediately available, there are a few remedies that may help to ease a toothache in the meantime. Avoid chewing in the area of pain and minimize exposure of cold or hot food or drinks to the area. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) can be effective when taken regularly. Other pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and aspirin may also help. Rinsing the mouth out with warm water and thoroughly brushing and flossing could help remove food debris that is adding to the irritation. Oral pain relief products containing benzocaine (Orajel and Anbesol) can provide temporary relief to a tooth or the gum area. It is important to note that if there is any kind of swelling that is rapidly growing, a visit to an emergency room may be necessary as this kind of dental problem cannot wait.
Can toothaches be prevented?
The prevention of most causes of a toothache starts with a conscious effort to practice good oral home care and have regularly scheduled visits with a dental professional. Catching a small cavity or gum infection early can head off bigger problems such as an abscessed tooth or advanced gum disease. Additionally, avoid unnecessarily chewing on hard foods that could cause tooth fractures, such as ice and hard candies. When exposing teeth to acidic beverages such as soda, orange juice, and sports drinks, using a straw may help minimize sensitive teeth. Conscientious habits for the sake of dental health are a big step in preventing the unexpected toothache.
Davidson, Terence M. "Consultation for Temporal Mandibular Joint Disease (TMJ)." Oct. 10, 2010. University of California, San Diego. <http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/surgery/davidson/consults/tmj.htm>.
Additional resources from WebMD Boots UK on Toothache Treatment
Viewers share their comments
- Submit »
- Submit »
WebMD Oral Health
Get tips for a healthy mouth.