Toothache” generally refers to pain around the tooth or jaw. In most cases, toothaches are caused by a problem in the tooth, such as a cavity, cracked tooth, exposed tooth root, or gum disease. A toothache may also be caused by a disorder of the temporo-mandibular joint (jaw joint).  Like any injury, the severity of pain can range from mild to excruciating.

I’m Dr. Corbet Locke, a dentist in Waco, and I treat toothache pain in my office.  When determining how to address a toothache, I have to determine what caused it, so I will do a thorough examination including x-rays, at your visit.

Here are some common causes and solutions for toothache pain:

An infection or abscessed tooth occurs as the result of trauma or tooth decay.  Antibiotics are often used to treat an infection.  Depending on the severity of the infection, a root canal may be necessary to treat the tooth.

Cavities are a bacterial disease that cause tooth decay.  Cavities eat away at tooth’s enamel, then dentin. It can extend into a tooth’s pulp. Oral care, hormones, diet, and genetics can lead to cavities. Tooth decay may be treated by a composite, amalgam filling, or a crown. If the decay is severe, a root canal may be necessary.

Teeth grinding, caused by misaligned bite or jaw joints, stress, or other factors, can result in tooth fractures, chipped teeth, and uneven tooth wear. If you grind your teeth at night, you may need a custom mouth guard. Cracked and chipped teeth can be treated with bonding, crowns or veneers.

Acidic diets and brushing too hard can wear down tooth enamel. Enamel loss weakens teeth and makes them sensitive to heat and cold.  Professional-grade or over-the-counter desensitizers may ease the discomfort. In some cases, composite bonding may help

If your toothache occurs over the weekend, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to dull the pain, or use a product containing benzocaine. To reduce swelling, try rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater throughout the day, and then apply an ice pack to the swollen area.

If you experience a toothache, call my Waco dentist office at 9254)776-4888 for an appointment. We see emergencies as quickly as possible.