We’ll admit it. Even though we’re a dentist, we find it a bit weird that there is a National Toothache Day. It’s February 9, and we think the best way to celebrate is by doing your best to ensure you never have one. We can help with that! We’re also happy to stop a toothache if you do have one.
Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent toothaches. That means brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day, for two full minutes each time. You should floss daily too.
No matter how good your home hygiene is, you should also see us every six months for an exam and professional cleaning. That’s because it’s nearly impossible to remove all of the disease-causing plaque from your teeth without the special instruments that dentists use. In addition to a cleaning, an exam gives us a chance to identify problems like cavities in their earliest stages. That way, we can treat them before they become more serious.
Poor oral hygiene isn’t the only thing that causes toothaches. If you grind your teeth, you risk cracking or chipping your tooth enamel. This can result in bacteria getting inside your tooth and causing an infection. We can fit you for a custom-made mouthguard that you’ll wear at night to stop grinding. We can also fit you for athletic mouthguards. They prevent sports injuries that can cause toothaches and other dental problems.
Let’s say the worst happens and you end up with a toothache. Don’t worry! We’ll stop the pain and prevent further damage with:
- Dental Fillings – If a cavity is the cause of your discomfort, we’ll often repair the tooth with a filling. We offer both amalgam (metal) and tooth-colored composite fillings. The composite will be matched to the color of your other teeth, so it’s the best choice for cavities in a visible area. But amalgam may be a better choice for spots that experience a lot of chewing pressure, like your back teeth.
- Dental Crowns – If your cavity is too large for a filling to fix, a crown is often the right choice. Crowns can also be used to mend cracked or broken teeth. It’s important to address this kind of damage ASAP because it can provide a way for bacteria to get inside your tooth.
- Root Canals – When the pulp insides your tooth becomes infected, it often causes a painful toothache. Your dentist will remove the infected material, thoroughly disinfect the tooth’s interior, and then seal it shut, usually with a crown. The only other option for an infected tooth is to remove it. A root canal is usually preferable, as it maintains your dental structure. This keeps other teeth from shifting out of place and also prevents bone loss in your jaw.
We don’t want you to be uncomfortable until you can see us. In most cases, an over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen can help with toothache pain. You can also try a topical anesthetic like Orajel or clove oil. Both will numb the tooth when applied. They are only for short-term use, though. Ice packs are another way to manage your pain and control any swelling.
If you’ve got a toothache, call Sioux Falls Smiles ASAP at 605-250-4651.