A toothache is a painful but all-too-common condition. Here, Edmond, OK, dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS fills us in on when it’s time to seek help.
Q: Thank you for joining us today, and welcome!
Edmond Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Q: Let’s get started. What’s the most common reason people visit the dentist, in your experience?
Edmond, OK, Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Aside from regular exams, I’d say the most common issue we see in the office is toothache.
Q: What causes toothaches?
Edmond Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Toothaches can be caused by any number of problems including tooth decay, fracture, a damaged filling, nighttime grinding, infected gums, or abscess.
Q: Do these causes typically present with different symptoms?
Edmond, OK, Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Toothaches are all about the same, though some are worse than others. Constant or throbbing sharp pain and swelling around the teeth are common. Some people only feel pain when the tooth is touched.
Q: And others…?
Edmond Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: If the tooth become severely infected, fever, headache, and drainage can occur on top of excruciating pain.
Q: Does a toothache always require immediate attention?
Edmond, OK, Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: No, not always. But, if it lasts more than a day or two, it’s time to seek help from your dental care provider.
Q: What happens if a toothache goes untreated?
Edmond Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: It’s important to identify the cause of and then treat dental infections quickly. The infection can spread to other parts of the face and, in more severe cases, into the bloodstream.
Q: How do dentists identify the cause of a toothache then…?
Edmond, OK, Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: We first look at the patient’s medical history and ask a few questions. We will examine the teeth and gums, throat, tongue, ears, nose, and neck. Depending on what a visual exam reveals, we may order x-rays or other tests.
Q: What are treatment options for toothache?
Edmond Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: That depends on the cause. Dental caries, or cavities, are a common culprit and can often be fixed with a simple filling. A root canal or tooth extraction may be necessary depending on the level of infection or decay.
Q: How can a toothache be prevented?
Edmond, OK, Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Good oral hygiene practices are the best way to prevent cavities. For toothaches caused by grinding, we typically custom-fit a nighttime mouth guard.
Q: How often should the average person see their dentist?
Edmond Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Twice a year for preventative measures including a full exam, x-rays, if needed; cleaning; and fluoride treatment.
Q: Before we close, do have any other advice you’d like to offer our readers?
Edmond, OK, Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: The best way to prevent adult dental issues is by instilling good oral hygiene practices in childhood. This includes teaching youngsters about the damage that high-sugar foods can cause to teeth and instructing them on how to brush and floss as soon as baby teeth emerge.
Q: That’s great advice and we appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today.
Edmond Dentist Damon R. Johnson, DDS: I appreciate the opportunity!