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Toothache jaw pain relief: Toothaches: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Toothaches: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Medically Reviewed by Evan Frisbee, DMD on April 02, 2022

  • When Should I See a Dentist About a Toothache?
  • What Happens When I Go to the Dentist for a Toothache?
  • What Treatments Are Available for a Toothache?
  • How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth that may be caused by:

  • Tooth decay
  • Abscessed tooth
  • Tooth fracture
  • A damaged filling
  • Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth
  • Infected gums

Symptoms of a toothache may include:

  • Tooth pain that may be sharp, throbbing, or constant. In some people, pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth.
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • Fever or headache
  • Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth

See your dentist as soon as possible about your toothache if:

  • You have a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
  • Your toothache is severe
  • You have a fever, earache, or pain upon opening your mouth wide

Proper identification and treatment of dental infections is important to prevent its spread to other parts of the face and skull and possibly even to the bloodstream.

To treat your toothache, your dentist will first obtain your medical history and conduct a physical exam. They will ask you questions about the pain, such as when the pain started, how severe it is, where the pain is located, what makes the pain worse, and what makes it better. Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose, and neck. X-rays may be taken as well as other tests, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing your toothache.

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling of the jaw.

Since most toothaches are the result of tooth decay, following good oral hygiene practices can prevent toothaches. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing once daily, rinsing once or twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash, and seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning. In addition to these practices, eat foods low in sugar and ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride applications.

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What Can You Do About Sensitive Teeth?

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Medically Reviewed by Evan Frisbee, DMD on December 06, 2022

  • Take Care of Your Tooth Enamel
  • Get to the Root of the Problem
  • Treatment

If you pass on hot or cold drinks because you know they’ll make your teeth hurt, it may be time to talk to your dentist about the possibility that you have sensitive teeth.

Sometimes other things can aggravate them, too, like sweet and sour foods or even cold air.

To be able to treat these tooth twinges, it helps to know what might be behind them. Once you’ve nailed down the cause, you can find a solution.

That’s a hard, protective layer that helps your teeth deal with everything you put them through. When it’s gone, nerve endings that cause pain are exposed.

If you have sensitive teeth, it’s possible some of your enamel has worn away.

To prevent or put the brakes on that damage:

Don’t brush too hard. Do you clean your teeth with a heavy hand? You might be taking off more than just plaque. Side-to-side brushing right at the gum line can make your enamel go away faster. You should use a soft-bristled brush and work at a 45-degree angle to your gum to keep enamel clean and strong.

Avoid acidic foods and drinks. Soda, sticky candy, high-sugar carbs — all of these treats attack enamel. Instead, snack on:

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Plain yogurt

These will moisten your mouth and help fight acid and bacteria that can eat away at your teeth. Saliva is one way your mouth deals with them.

You can also drink green or black tea or chew sugarless gum. If you do eat something acidic, don’t rush to brush. Wait an hour or so to strengthen before you scrub.

Unclench your teeth. Over time, teeth grinding wears away your enamel. Sometimes, addressing your stress can stop the problem. If that doesn’t work, your dentist can fit you for a splint or a mouth guard.

If the problem is severe, you may need dental work to change your teeth’s position, or a muscle relaxant.

Take a break from bleaching. The quest for pearly whites may cause your pain. Thankfully, sensitivity from bleaching is usually temporary. Talk to your dentist about how the treatment might be affecting you, and whether you should continue it.

Sometimes, tooth sensitivity can be a sign of other issues, like:

Naturally shrinking gums. If you’re over 40, it could be that your gums are showing signs of wear and tear by pulling away from your teeth and uncovering your tooth roots. Those roots don’t have enamel to protect them, so they’re much more sensitive than the rest of your tooth.

Tell your dentist if your gums look like they’re receding. It can be a sign of other problems, like gum disease. Serious cases may need a gum graft. That moves tissue from somewhere else to cover the bare area.

Gum disease. Plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth can make your gums pull back. Sometimes, disease can set in. It can destroy the bony support of your tooth. Don’t smoke. It can lead to gum disease. To treat it, your dentist may do a deep clean of your teeth, called planing or scaling, that scrapes tartar and plaque below the gum line. You could also need medication or surgery to fix the problem.

A cracked tooth or filling: When you break a tooth, the crack can go all the way down to your root. You’ll notice pain when your tooth is cold. How your dentist fixes the crack depends on how deep it goes. If it’s a small crack that ends before your gums start, your dentist can fill it. If it’s below your gum line, your tooth will have to be pulled.

Once you’ve found the problem, there are things your dentist can use to help ease your pain, including:

  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
  • Fluoride gel
  • Fillings that cover exposed roots
  • Sealants
  • Desensitizing pastes (not used with a toothbrush) you can get from your dentist
  • Mouthguard to protect teeth if you grind

If your case is serious, your dentist might suggest a root canal.

It’s also important not to shy away from dental care because of tooth pain. Ignoring your teeth can make things worse. Brush and floss twice a day to help keep your smile bright and pain-free. And see your dentist for a checkup twice a year.

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Toothache ways to quickly get rid of, tablets, rinses, massage

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  • What to do if a tooth hurts, how to quickly relieve pain

Filatova Natalya Valerievna


Work experience 35 years, Highest category

More about the doctor

No one will argue that toothache is the most painful. Often it appears suddenly and immediately begins to affect all aspects of our lives. We cannot fully chew food, work and communicate with people – pain makes itself felt every minute.

As a rule, in the evening, the malaise only intensifies: in a horizontal position, the blood rushes more strongly to the head and increases pressure on the nerve endings. Saliva, which is a natural antiseptic, begins to be produced weaker, which exacerbates inflammation in the mouth. Another reason for night pain is a decrease in the activity of the adrenal glands. They are responsible for the production of steroid hormones that suppress the pain effect during the daytime.

Why does my tooth hurt?

Temporary pain from mechanical damage is easily relieved by painkillers, but the cause of prolonged and intense pain lies much deeper:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity . The reaction of teeth to cold, hot, sour, sweet can be an innate feature. But if the discomfort appeared for no clear reason, sensitive teeth can become evidence of more serious diseases – from dental in the form of thinning of tooth enamel to pathologies occurring inside the body. Among them may be diseases of a neurological nature, hormonal disorders.
  • Caries . In the early stages, the disease is almost asymptomatic. Discomfort may appear during the reception of cold or hot food. With advanced caries, damage to dentin and enamel begins, and the pain syndrome worsens and is accompanied by the development of pulpitis.
  • Pulpitis . Acute toothaches cover soft tissues, arteries and nerve endings inside the tooth. They do not go away, almost do not give in to tablets for acute toothache and can lead to fever and deterioration of the general condition. As a result, you can lose a tooth.
  • Periodontitis . The inflammatory process in the tissues surrounding the top of the tooth may not bother you for a long time. As the disease progresses, bleeding gums, bad breath, itching and pain when chewing appear.
  • Periodontitis . The disease is the result of untreated pulpitis or improper canal filling. Inflammation affects not only the periodontal tissues, but also the bone. The pain becomes cutting, in some cases the tooth begins to stagger, a cyst forms.

One should not endure pain for weeks in the hope that it will subside on its own. This is fraught with complications and the risk of losing a tooth.

How can you relieve a toothache?

If you have a toothache and it is not possible to immediately consult a doctor, you can reduce its intensity with the help of oral hygiene. Gently brush and rinse your mouth to get rid of food particles and bacteria. This will help create an unfavorable environment for the development of infections and the reproduction of microorganisms.

Next, you need to act deliberately and not panic. You will not be able to cure the symptom on your own, but some methods will help reduce toothaches for a while: In Belarus, most often in a home first-aid kit you can find:










They all work differently and relieve pain to varying degrees. Pregnant women and children should be careful with medications. When pregnant, it is better to consult a doctor. Paracetamol is considered safe drugs. Nurofen can be taken in the 1st and 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

Most medications are contraindicated for children under 12 years of age, so it is recommended to give them Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Nurofen children’s tablets for toothache.


Rinse reduces the activity of harmful microflora and helps relieve inflammation. It is recommended to rinse your mouth with warm solutions to prevent burns or hypothermia of the mucous membrane.

Both homemade and commercial products can be used as a solution:

  • Salt and water. Dilute 2 teaspoons of salt in a glass of water. Salt solution kills pathogenic bacteria and fungi, disinfects the oral cavity and relieves swelling.
  • Soda. One of the best antiseptics that does not cause allergies. To prepare the solution, mix 1 tsp of soda and a glass of water and mix well.
  • Herbal decoctions. In addition to tablets, the leaves of mint, sage, chamomile and lemon balm are best for toothache. 2 tablespoons of dry leaves are poured with boiling water and allowed to brew for about 20 minutes. Rinse your mouth with warm decoction 4-5 times a day.
  • Oak bark. Put water on the stove and add 2-3 tablespoons of dry powder. After boiling, boil the medicine for about 5 minutes, strain and cool slightly. You can use oak bark every 3 hours – it will have an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.
  • Pharmaceutical preparations. Special remedies for dental pain can also be purchased in pharmacies in Belarus. They have almost no contraindications, prevent the growth of microbes and relieve inflammation. You can rinse your mouth with antiseptic drugs Chlorhexidine or Miramistin, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs – Tantum Verde and Stomatofit.


Cold compresses provide short-term relief. Wrap an ice cube or frozen food in a towel and apply to the sore cheek. The cold helps constrict the blood vessels, and the toothache becomes weaker.

But hot compresses are strictly contraindicated, as they only stimulate blood flow and lead to the growth of bacteria. It is also impossible to apply gruel from analgin – this can destroy the tooth and create a mucosal burn.


According to the Chinese folk method, pressing on certain points for 2-3 minutes will help reduce pain and even get rid of pain completely. Massage is carried out on 4 points:

  • Between the phalanges of the thumb and forefinger.
  • Earlobe on the opposite side of the diseased tooth.
  • Recess between cheekbone and lower jaw.
  • Index finger rib.

Try to be distracted and not touch the sore spot with your tongue, let alone with your hands. Refrain from smoking and do not try to cure yourself with alcohol-containing products. Taking antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription is also prohibited – this way you can only harm your body.

Any treatment for pain is only a temporary solution to the problem. Do not put off going to the dentist – only he will help cure the disease and toothache.

Why does the tooth hurt, what to do and how to reduce the pain

Doctor’s consultation

Toothache or dentalgia is pain that occurs in the tooth or tissues surrounding it. It can appear for various reasons. It has different localization and intensity. About what to do with a sore tooth, why the pain appeared, what it can be confused with, how to get rid of it at home, when it is worth visiting a doctor, how dental treatment is carried out, prices, we will tell further.

This pain is usually caused by:

  • pulpitis;
  • caries;
  • secondary caries;
  • periodontal disease, periodontitis;
  • flux;
  • wisdom tooth eruption;
  • increased tooth sensitivity to cold, hot drinks;
  • allergy.

As we can see, there can be many reasons for such pain. But often a person confuses toothache with other symptoms and cannot understand what exactly hurts him.

What can be confused with a toothache

It happens that a patient’s toothache does not appear because of the teeth.

Usually caused by:

  • Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve. It is located very close to the root of the tooth. That is why, when it is inflamed, a person complains of a pulling pain that radiates to the tooth. Moreover, such pain affects the entire jaw.
  • Disease localized in the ENT organs. Usually the appearance of a toothache provokes sinusitis, sinusitis, otitis media. It is very difficult to help if the child has a severe toothache. He still cannot say where he hurts, whether it is a tooth.
  • Stress. It is interesting that people even experience severe pain under the tooth. Such pain manifests itself at night.

How to relieve pain at home

Experts recommend purchasing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for people experiencing severe toothache. They:

  • reduce swelling;
  • help get rid of pathogenic bacteria;
  • quickly and effectively relieve pain, inflammation.

Remember: according to the purpose and strength of the impact, all drugs differ from each other.

But each of them helps where the tooth hurts a lot. The drug anesthetizes, removes swelling, relieves inflammation, brings down the temperature.

Do not forget that such drugs have a negative effect on the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines. Therefore, citizens with a problematic gastrointestinal tract should be taken with caution. They should not be taken for a long time.

In addition, such drugs thin the blood, have a negative effect on the kidneys and liver. That is why pregnant, lactating ladies, children should not use them. You can take them, but carefully and at the dosage indicated by the doctor.

Do not mix these preparations with alcohol.

And if you use several drugs from the same group, the effect will come faster, but there will be more side effects.

In addition, the patient may:

  1. Apply a cold compress, ice wrapped in a cloth to the cheek. It will narrow the blood vessels, relieve swelling, and stop the infection. But ice should be used with caution. Otherwise, hypothermia cannot be avoided. Do not apply ice to the skin for a long time.
  2. Brush your teeth gently but thoroughly. They can be cleaned with dental floss or a toothbrush. Rinse your mouth after brushing. So you can get rid of the pieces of food stuck in your teeth. And this method also helps to get rid of the feeling of fullness and discomfort.
  3. Insert a cotton swab soaked in alcohol into the hole. It can also be moistened in diluted alcohol, vodka, alcohol tincture of calendula flowers, propolis. So you can get rid of infection, inflammation.
  4. Rinse mouth with diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. It will disinfect the problem area, soften plaque, relieve inflammation, relieve inflammation. The liquid must not be used undiluted. This will lead to burns of the mucous membrane. That is why you should read the instructions before use. Typically, hydrogen peroxide is diluted 1 to 11.

When to run to the dentist

A patient should definitely consult a specialist if he/she has:

  • the pain does not go away within a day. Remember: you should consult a doctor for people who have a toothache after extraction, implantation, surgery, i.e. where the pain has not gone away for two days;
  • there is pain of varying intensity, which is accompanied by fever, general malaise;
  • self-examination of the oral cavity revealed an open gingival hood, on which redness, purulent inflammation appeared, swollen gums;
  • the intensity of pain gradually increases;
  • gums become painful, bleed heavily.

Remember: if the tooth has darkened, then this indicates that it has collapsed from the inside. But only a specialist can see what happened to him. He will also answer the patient’s question about what to do if the tooth hurts.