August 1, 2015
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Toothache Overview (cont.)

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What are toothache symptoms and signs?

Signs and symptoms that can might indicate a tooth problem are

  • pain with biting or chewing,
  • teeth hypersensitivity to changes to temperature,
  • cheek or gums swelling near tooth,
  • discharge or bleeding of gums,
  • constant throbbing within a tooth.

A toothache can present as a dull or sharp pain that may arise spontaneously on its own or by stimulation.

Additional symptoms may include

How is a toothache diagnosed?

The dentist performs a series of diagnostic tests along with dental X-rays to determine the origin of a toothache. These tests try to mimic what may be causing the pain, such as cold stimuli, biting or chewing pressure, and finger pressure on the gums.

Sometimes, the cause of a toothache may come from somewhere different than where pain is actually felt. This is called "referred pain." For these situations, diagnostic dental tests are particularly important in accurately detecting the problem.

What is the treatment for a toothache?

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause of the pain and how much damage is present. In general, the best way to stop a toothache is to remove any present infection or decay and repair the damage to protect exposed, sensitive areas. For a shallow cavity on a tooth, the decay is removed and a filling is placed to seal the tooth. If the cavity is very deep and gets into the pulp, "root canal treatment" is performed because the pulp has been exposed and infected with bacteria. This procedure essentially removes all the vital contents of the tooth (nerves and blood vessels) and seals the inner aspects of the tooth (root canal system) with an inert filling material. Root canal treatment along with antibiotic therapy is usually needed for an abscessed tooth that has very localized infection. If the infection has become widespread, antibiotic therapy and additional steps may be needed to properly drain the infection. Sometimes extraction of the tooth may be the only option for treatment if the tooth or surrounding gum and bone are too damaged.

For a periodontal abscess, simple drainage procedure by the dentist with antibiotics orally and with washes can be curative.

For tooth fractures or cracked tooth syndrome situations, dental crown placement is the usual treatment. A crown will replace missing tooth structure and/or it will help protect the weakened tooth from further breakdown and sensitivity.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/23/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/toothache_overview/article.htm

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