As a dentist, I come across cases where patients complain about a tooth ache. In fact one of the prime reason for dental intervention is tooth pain.There are several reasons for this but the most important one is tooth decay. Basically, it is the oral bacteria (mostly Streptococcus mutants group) that is responsible for caries but then the question is why in some person it causes tooth decay. The reason is that this bacteria takes nutrition from carbohydrate and produces extracellular acid which demineralizes the enamel and dentin creating a cavity.There are other reasons for tooth ache such as trauma to the tooth, an accumulation of food and debris between your teeth ( or Pockets), Long standing infection, sinus infection simulating tooth pain, pericoronitis and teething observed commonly in children.Patients consult the dentist only when they have pain or sensitivity to cold or warm food. So the first aid should aim at providing relief to the patient. Also, It is said, “Prevention is better than cure”. So people should look after their oral hygiene , reduce the sugar intake and also modify their sedentary life style. Until you can see your dentist, I recommend the patients to try these simple self-care tips :
- Rinse your mouth with warm saline water.( Make sure it’s not hot)
- Use dental floss to remove any food particles wedged between your teeth.
- Take pain killers to get immediate relief but don’t overuse them and never place them directly against your gums because it may burn your gum.
- Sparingly apply an OTC antiseptic containing benzocaine directly to the irritated tooth and gum for temporary relief.
- Apply oil of cloves on a small piece of cotton directly to the sore tooth and gums
- If a toothache is caused by trauma to the tooth, apply a cold compression to the outside of your cheek.
- Never apply hot pack on your face in case of pain otherwise it can cause space infection
- You should call your dentist if the pain persists for more than two days or if there is fever swelling, red gums , foul tasting discharge or pain while biting.