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What to do when you have an emergency toothache

16 Jul 18 News
A toothache is a very common dental emergency but with the right treatment, it’s possible to relieve the pain and address the cause. The dull throb of a toothache is difficult to ignore – and you certainly shouldn’t try to ignore it! A toothache can often be a sign of an underlying dental issue and should be attended to as quickly as possible. Whether yours is sudden and severe or has been brewing for some time, taking some simple steps during an emergency toothache can help relieve the pain as quickly as possible.

What causes a toothache?

First, it’s helpful to understand the common causes of toothache. We typically see one of two main causes for toothache: there’s an infection somewhere around the tooth, or a filling is needed. Both situations require different dental treatment, which is why it’s important to get to the dentist before the situation worsens.

How to treat an emergency toothache

If you do experience a toothache, here’s what to do...
  • Gently clear the area around the tooth. Rinse the mouth with warm saltwater and if you can tolerate it, use dental floss to dislodge any food particles that have become trapped.
  • Hold a cold compress (such as ice wrapped in a clean cloth) to the outside of your mouth or jaw. This can help reduce any swelling.
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication. Clove oil can also give some pain relief – use a cotton tip to dab it directly on the tooth and the area around it.
  • Phone your dentist immediately and explain the situation. In emergency situations, we do our best to see patients as quickly as possible, including on weekends and after hours, so that we can provide both immediate relief and long-term treatment.
  • Depending on the cause of the toothache, you may need to return to the dentist after the pain and swelling have subsided, so that we can finish the treatment or address any underlying issues. It’s important to follow your dentist’s direction about follow-up appointments as they can stop the dreaded toothache from returning once again.
  If you have an emergency toothache, contact us as quickly as possible on (02) 9634 2261. We have Sunday and late appointments available for emergencies.