Most people will suffer the unpleasant effects of dental pain or toothache during their lifetime. Every year nearly half of the population will experience some form of dental pain or discomfort and 25 percent will eventually be driven to seek emergency treatment. Severe dental pain can be totally incapacitating. Low grade, chronic dental pain is debilitating and in both cases the first priority must be to make an urgent dental appointment for diagnosis and treatment by a dentist. The early warning signs should never be ignored.
It is easy to understand the reason for such unpleasant symptoms. The nature of the teeth and their association with the jaws are part of a complex sensory mechanism with short nerve pathways to the brain. Pain tells the brain that all is not well.
The teeth and the tooth attachments may give rise to painful symptoms as a result of decay, abscess, gum (periodontal) disease or eruption problems. The pain may vary from an intermittent or fleeting sensitivity; sensitivity to hot and cold that may indicate the early onset of decay; to the most dreadful acute throbbing pain caused by advanced decay and a dental abscess. In this latter case it may be impossible even to touch the teeth together and eating may be difficult.
If you are experiencing toothache in Edinburgh, book an appointment with our friendly team at Edinburgh Endodontist.
Pain and toothache may occur following dental treatment. It is not uncommon after a very large and deep filling has been placed or a dental extraction carried out. The degree of pain is related to the damaged dental tissues (eg the surgical removal of an impacted wisdom tooth can be associated with several days of pain or discomfort). Patients must therefore expect to be given suitable medication and advised to follow procedures aimed at promoting rapid healing whilst reducing the discomfort to a minimum. It is most unusual for post-operative pain to last for more than 10 days. In the vast majority of cases medication will not be required for more than three days.
There are many factors that influence the choice of a successful regime for dental pain control. The young and the old require extra care, together with those who may already be taking medication for other medical or dental conditions, and pregnant or nursing mothers. The assessment of the physical and psychological make-up of the patient, together with their past experiences with various forms of pain control, are key to future choices. Allergies, asthma, other contra-indications and short term personal or business activities may also have to be considered.
In the vast majority of emergencies, dental pain and toothache can be controlled in the short term by one of three simple medicines – paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen. All can be purchased without the need for a prescription and are known as Over-the-Counter (OTC) medicines.