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What helps with tooth nerve pain: 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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How To Stop Nerve Pain in My Tooth?

Tooth nerve pain can make even the most enjoyable moments uncomfortable and difficult, like eating your favorite foods. If you’re experiencing nerve pain or sensitivity in your tooth, it’s likely an indication that your tooth is damaged or infected. When a tooth’s nerve gets exposed, it’s likely to respond with sensitivity, discomfort, and pain, especially when eating.

If this sounds familiar, it’s essential to seek the right treatments before the condition worsens. For instance, if your tooth is infected and you don’t treat it in time, it can spread, eventually leading to tooth loss, gum infection, jawbone infection, and other systemic conditions such as sepsis. These issues can cause the need for lengthy, expensive, and invasive treatments.

Causes of Tooth Nerve Pain

Usually, the teeth’s nerves are inside the tooth’s pulp – the innermost part of the tooth.

Nerve pain can fall into two categories:

  • Pulp sensitivity or pain results from a tooth infection or decay, recent tooth filling, pressure from bruxism, and dental trauma like chips, cracks, and breaks.
  • Dentinal sensitivity is nerve pain that generally happens when the tooth’s enamel is damaged or eroded. The exposed tooth dentin responds to external stimuli such as cold, heat, and acid. Common causes of dentinal sensitivity include receding gums, teeth whitening products, and untreated cavities.

Contact our emergency dentist in Marshfield, MA, if you’re experiencing severe pain or sensitivity.

How to Treat Tooth Nerve Pain

Fortunately, you can do a few things to prevent or treat tooth nerve pain. Once you visit your dentist for an dental exam and cleaning, they will establish the underlying cause and create a treatment plan to address the issue.

Based on the cause of the problem, your dentist can use the following procedures to solve the issue:

  • Root canal therapy 

If an infected tooth impacts the tooth’s nerve, the dentist can perform a root canal to remove the decay or infection. The dentist drills through the tooth and removes all damaged or infected nerves and pulp from the tooth. Next, the tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and sealed to prevent re-infection. Next, the dentist fills the tooth and places a dental crown for added strength and protection.

  • Dental fillings and crowns

If you have nerve pain or sensitivity caused by cavities or tooth damage, the dentist can repair the tooth with a filling. The dentist can cover the tooth with a crown to prevent sensitivity.

  • Medications 

While addressing the underlying condition, the dentist can prescribe medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen to manage pain and infection. You can apply certain gels to the gums and teeth to ease the pain.

Home Remedies

As you wait for professional help, you can try some self-care remedies such as:

  • Ice packs or cold compress

Applying an ice pack on the cheek around the painful tooth can help ease pain and swelling. You can do this by wrapping some ice in a towel and keeping it on the cheek for about 15 minutes. Similarly, you can try holding some ice water in your mouth for a few seconds. Don’t bite the ice, as it can cause the tooth to break.

  • Saltwater rinse 

Saltwater is a disinfectant and can help control the infection and reduce inflammation. Swishing salt water can also help dislodge substances trapped between your teeth. To make the remedy, mix ½ teaspoon of salt with warm water. Take a sip, swish it around in your mouth for a few seconds, then split.

  • Hydrogen peroxide rinse 

Like saltwater, hydrogen peroxide can help reduce infection and inflammation. Rinse thoroughly and split. Don’t swallow the solution.

  • Avoid irritants 

You can also reduce or prevent nerve pain by avoiding items that can trigger it. These include:

  • Avoid too hot or cold beverages like coffees, teas, sodas, ice cream, or water.
  • Avoid too hot food.
  • Avoid sugary items such as soda, cookies, and candy.
  • Avoid acidic items such as lemon juice, tomatoes, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Avoid disturbing the tooth with a finger or tongue.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain? Contact Marshfield Dental Group in Marshfield, MA, for an emergency dental appointment.


Novokuibyshevsk, st. Soviet 5


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When a aching pain in a tooth appears, a person is simply not able to think about anything else, because this is one of the most unpleasant sensations. Moreover, it often happens that it starts to hurt at night or at times when dental care is not available (in the country, on a trip, etc.), and it is not possible to immediately consult a doctor for treatment. Why does pain appear, and how to soothe a aching tooth before a visit to dentistry in Novokuibyshevsk?

What causes aching pain in the tooth?

The main causes of pain are:

  • Infectious lesions of dental units: caries, pulpitis, periodontitis. Even in the later stages, these diseases may not give a pronounced clinical picture and manifest only as a steady aching pain inside the tooth when exposed to any irritant.
  • Too thin enamel layer, cracks and chips on the enamel.
  • Periodontitis. In some cases, inflammation of the gums is accompanied by a throbbing toothache.
  • Treatment or removal of teeth in Novokuibyshevsk. Often there is aching pain after the removal of a wisdom tooth or any other – this is a normal reaction to the operation, and usually the pain gradually disappears on its own after a few days. Also, aching pain in the tooth often occurs after the removal of the nerve – this is a common reaction of the body to treatment that does not require special therapy.

How to soothe an aching tooth?

If aching pain inside the tooth or after the removal of a wisdom tooth does not allow you to sleep peacefully and generally think about something else, you need to take care to minimize it. And at the first opportunity, be sure to contact a dentist, because pain relief does not mean that the problem has been eliminated and there is no need to be treated. You can eliminate pain as follows:

  • First of all, thoroughly brush your teeth, remove food debris from the interdental spaces.
  • Rinse your mouth with soda-salt solution (a teaspoon of soda and salt in a glass of warm boiled water). You can use only saline or just warm water if you have nothing else on hand.
  • Take pain medication (analgin, paracetamol, ibuprofen) if possible.
  • If there are no medications at hand, you can relieve pain with folk remedies. Rinsing with decoctions of chamomile, calendula, sage, calamus root helps to cope well with toothache. You can also use swabs soaked in clove, sea buckthorn or peppermint oil, which should be applied to the affected area. They help to get rid of pain and rinsing with alcohol-containing liquids – propolis tincture, ordinary vodka or cognac (you can not use sweet alcohol-containing drinks for this purpose!).

Warming procedures are strongly discouraged in this case – rinsing should be at about room temperature, warm compresses and heating pads should not be applied to the affected area. Heat only accelerates and intensifies the inflammatory process, which can provoke the rapid development of a purulent abscess and the spread of inflammation to nearby tissues. In dentistry Favorit, Novokuibyshevsk

Reference to the source.

When your teeth hurt. What to do and how to relieve toothache

Probably one of the worst pains that a person has is a toothache. When a tooth hurts, it is almost impossible to endure, and then even the most ardent non-lover of dentists goes to “surrender” to the doctor. But not everyone knows why teeth hurt, and how to avoid these unpleasant sensations. Together with the dentist-therapist of the clinic “StilDent” Elena Gennadievna ZIBNITSKA, we will deal with the most common causes of toothache.

The most common causes of toothache are caries, pulpitis, periodontitis, and pericoronitis.


This is a disease of the hard tissues of the tooth, leading to the destruction of enamel and dentin. First of all, caries affects the natural depressions on the teeth (fissures), as well as areas where plaque accumulates in large quantities – these are the interdental spaces and the gum area. With caries, the hard tissues of the tooth demineralize and soften, and subsequently a defect in the form of a cavity forms on the tooth.

Caries has several stages, the process is initial, superficial, medium and deep. At first, caries is almost asymptomatic – the main inconvenience that a person experiences is associated with food getting stuck in carious cavities. Another symptom of caries, which is usually not paid much attention to, is short-term pain from chemical, mechanical, thermal stimuli. Simply put, damaged enamel no longer protects the tooth from exposure to hot tea or ice water or from mechanical stress, and at this moment we experience pain. But since it only lasts a few seconds, we usually don’t take it seriously.

When the process reaches the last stage – deep caries, then the discomfort becomes difficult to ignore. With deep caries, the patient experiences pain when food and liquid get into the damaged area, pain when brushing teeth (irritation from getting pasta and brushes), pain from any external stimuli, temperature, chemical, mechanical. After the irritant is removed, the pain subsides – until the next episode. At this stage, the quality of life is already significantly reduced. But if a person continues to stubbornly endure and does not go to the doctor, the nerve of the tooth (pulp) is gradually involved in the inflammatory process, and pulpitis begins.


This is an inflammation of the pulp (nerve) of the tooth, the process is usually accompanied by acute pain. Pulpitis occurs as a reaction to the constant impact of irritants that enter the pulp through the carious cavity, and also due to the influence of microorganisms and toxins on the nerve of the tooth. Irritation of the pulp leads to a change in blood flow, which provokes increased pressure on the nerve fibers.

At the initial stage, pulpitis is manifested by mild pain, which disappears when the irritant is removed. At this stage, the inflammation goes away on its own if the irritant is removed – that is, caries is cured and the tooth is sealed, isolating the pulp from external influences.

If nothing is done, the inflammation gradually increases, and the pain increases. There comes the stage of acute pulpitis, irreversible changes take place in the pulp. Pain is easily caused by any stimulus. The option “do not eat, do not drink, keep your mouth closed” does not save you from pain. Very often, toothache worsens at night.

Pain in acute pulpitis can be very different:

  • Sharp or blunt

  • Pulsating or constant

  • Localized or spilled

  • Short term or long term

If you continue to ignore your condition and do not consult a dentist, then the next stage is the complications that are likely to develop with acute pulpitis, including purulent pulpitis.

Purulent pulpitis

This is the most severe form of pulpitis, most often, it ends with pulp necrosis. With purulent pulpitis, the pain becomes especially unbearable and sharp, at night it often intensifies. The pain radiates to the temporal region, to the ear, to the orbit, to other teeth – often in this state it seems to a person that all his teeth already hurt.

Chronic pulpitis

In the most patient patients, acute pulpitis can become chronic. The pain becomes not so sharp and constant, sometimes it subsides for a long time. If the carious cavity is difficult to access for irritants, chronic pulpitis can proceed almost painlessly.

Symptoms of chronic pulpitis

  • Pain in the cold

  • Pain when eating hot food

  • Pain with temperature changes (for example, when you leave the house on a cold street)

  • Prolonged aching pain if the carious cavity is clogged with food debris

Chronic pulpitis can worsen at any moment and give you all the unforgettable sensations of acute pulpitis.

If chronic pulpitis is not treated, it can turn into periodontitis.

Acute periodontitis

Periodontitis is an inflammatory process in the periodontal (peripheral) tissues in the region of the apex of the tooth root. Often, inflammation captures the cementum and dentin of the root of the tooth, as well as the alveolar bone. Periodontitis in most cases occurs due to damage to the pulp, that is, pulpitis.


  • The pain is constant, throbbing, with a clear localization

  • The pain is aggravated by any touch to the tooth, including when chewing.

  • Pain may radiate to part of the face

  • Headache

  • General weakness

  • Temperature increase

  • Swelling of the cheek

  • Gum pain, redness and swelling in it

  • Enlarged submandibular and submental lymph nodes

  • Possible discharge of pus from the root canal

Chronic periodontitis

Chronic periodontitis sometimes develops asymptomatically or acute periodontitis can pass into this stage. Chronic periodontitis develops when the pulp dies, and favorable conditions are created in the tooth for the development of microorganisms. Sometimes chronic periodontitis can appear after a tooth injury.


  • Changing the color of tooth enamel

  • The presence of a fistula on the gum

  • Pain when chewing solid food

Chronic periodontitis can have many very serious complications: granuloma, root cyst, pathological fracture of the lower jaw, periapical abscess, cellulitis, and others.


This is difficult eruption of wisdom teeth (eights). In the case when the tooth cannot erupt normally, inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding it and the periosteum behind the tooth fossa begins. The inflamed gum is constantly injured when chewing, which further aggravates the process.

The inflammatory process can gradually lead to the development of purulent pericoronitis.


  • Constant pain that gets worse when chewing

  • Pain radiates to the ear and temporal region

  • Pain when opening the mouth

  • Enlargement and tenderness in the submandibular lymph nodes

  • Sharp pain when pressing on the gums, purulent discharge is possible

  • Increase in body temperature

In the future, the pain continues to intensify, the body temperature rises. The patient’s state of health worsens significantly, and the development of postmolar periostitis is possible.

How to avoid toothache?

In fact, everything is very simple.

The general condition of the teeth affects the general condition of the body, and the way of life of a person. If a person leads a healthy lifestyle, eats a balanced diet, is attentive to oral hygiene, then he has much more chances to keep his teeth in perfect order.