If you have ever experienced a toothache, you will know that there are few things that are more painful. When you have a severe toothache, it is hard to think about much else.

What can cause a toothache?

There are a number of things that can cause a toothache. Sometimes when we have a cavity, we can experience pain or sensitivity when you eat sugary foods or drink cold water. This is because the nerve in our tooth is inflamed. If the nerve of your tooth is inflamed for long periods of time, the nerve can actually die. This is when the pain can start to occur spontaneously or wake you up at night. Another cause of a toothache can be if your tooth has a crack. This will usually hurt when you chew or right after you finish chewing. Many types of dental infections can also cause oral pain.

What can I do until I see a dentist?

Usually the only thing to do until you see a health care provider is to take either Advil or Tylenol to help soothe the pain. This usually is only temporary relief.

When should I consider seeking emergency care?

If you ever have severe swelling that interferes with your ability to breathe or swallow or if you have a severe fever, you should go to the nearest emergency room for immediate attention.

For more information on toothaches and other dental emergencies, please call 416-296-0400 ext. 2 or email Dr. Isabel Cumandra at thedoctors@scarborosmiles.ca