Toothaches: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

The possibility of getting a toothache isn’t something that you should take lightly.  It’s a tragedy that can occur at any time, and the pain can grow to be unbearable.

Being able to recognize common toothache symptoms can help you avoid severe discomfort or an emergency. Also, being familiar with toothache treatment options may help you make a quick decision on which way to go if the time comes.

Toothache Symptoms

It’s important to know that tooth pain does not get better on its own. In fact, it only gets worse.  Antibiotics and pain medications only delay the inevitable.  If you’re in pain, you will need to see a Newport Beach dentist for toothache treatment right away.

Toothache symptoms can start with something as mild as the occasional sensitivity when drinking something cold, or eating ice cream. Over time, the discomfort will progress and occur more often, perhaps every time you eat something or tap your teeth together.  Eventually, the pain will be so severe that it will consume you and keep you up at night.

To avoid having to be hospitalized due to a severe tooth infection, you should see our Newport Beach dentist at the first sign of toothache symptoms. 


Toothache Causes and Treatment

There are many different factors that can cause a tooth to hurt. The reason for your toothache will help determine what type of treatment is best for you.

Cavities (Decay)

A cavity occurs when the enamel (outer layer of the tooth) softens and breaks down.

When looking in your mouth, if you see a discolored tooth, it could be a cavity. Also, sensitivity to sweets and cold temperatures are a sign that you have decay.

For a small to a medium-sized cavity, our Newport Beach dentist will likely recommend a filling as your toothache treatment.  During this procedure, we will remove the decayed part of the tooth, clean and prep the area, then fill the void with a composite filling material.

If your tooth is suffering from a large cavity, then it’s too weak to be fixed with a filling.  In order to protect the tooth from further damage, we will need to cover it will a crown (cap) that fits over the entire tooth, preventing it from breaking.


 toothache newport beachA dental abscess is an infection in your tooth.  This is commonly caused by a cavity that has been left untreated. As the decay in a tooth worsens, it spreads deeper into the tooth and eventually reaches the nerve inside, causing it to become infected.

Feeling pain when something hot touches your tooth is usually a dead giveaway that you’re dealing with an abscess.  You may also feel it hurt while chewing, or just touching it. In worst cases, the pain can be so unbearable that it keeps you up at night, and over the counter pain medications won’t provide any relief.

Occasionally, people can have an abscessed tooth and not experience any pain.  In this case, it’s likely that they have a fistula on the gum.  This is a sack of puss that looks like a pimple. The knot usually has a hole in it that allows the infection to drain, relieving your pain.

To treat a dental abscess, you’ll likely be given more than one option.  If you’d like to save your tooth, then you’ll have to undergo root canal therapy.  During this toothache treatment, our Newport Beach dentist removes the infected nerve tissue from within the roots, disinfects the area, and seals it off to prevent bacteria from re-entering.

If you prefer not to save the tooth, you can have it extracted. But this will leave an open space in your smile and bone.

Gum Disease

Red, inflamed tissue, bleeding gums, and bad breath are all signs of gum (periodontal) disease. This condition also has a significant impact on your teeth. Underneath the gum tissue is the bone that is responsible for firmly holding the roots of your teeth. Severe gum infection eats away at the bone, causing it to deteriorate. When the amount of bone support diminishes, it causes the teeth to rock and move. Loose teeth are painful and even closing your mouth together can be unbearable.

Getting your periodontal disease under control may be a viable toothache treatment in this case. However, if your gum disease is too advanced, there’s no way to save your teeth and they’ll need to be extracted.

We Can Help You Avoid A Toothache

To help prevent yourself from getting a toothache, visit our Newport Beach dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. If it’s been a while since you’ve made the health of your teeth a priority, then give us a call to book a new patient appointment. Dr. Desiree Yazdan and the team of The Center For Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry look forward to meeting you!

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