In our last blog post, we covered a few things that you should know if you are experiencing a toothache. Severe tooth pain isn’t common, but if it happens, you should be careful to get it looked at by a dentist right away, because it is most likely an abscess, which won’t go away on its own. Here are some more things from our Sarasota dentist that you should know about taking care of a toothache.
4. How to identify the cause of your toothache
In order to diagnose the cause of your toothache, your dentist will need to take an x-ray of your tooth in order to see if your pain is being caused by an abscess. The x-ray will show the affected area and allow the dentist to see what the problem is and what treatment options are available to you.
5. Treatment options for a tooth abscess
If your toothache is caused by an abscess, the abscess will need to be drained in order to remove the bacteria and let the infection escape. However, draining an abscess that’s located at the root of your tooth is easier said than done. Here are the two basic treatment options that you’ll be able to choose.
- Save the tooth: In order to remove the infection, the dentist may drill a small hole in your tooth, drain out all the infected fluid and extract the pulp, fill the empty chamber with a rubber-like material, and then put a filling on the access hole that got drilled into your tooth. Yep, in other words, it’s the R-word. The first treatment option available to you is a root canal.
- Lose the tooth: The other alternative to a root canal isn’t much prettier. Your dentist could also recommend extracting the tooth. Usually, this is the recommendation for times when the rest of your tooth is so severely decayed that it’s not able to be saved. For instance, a large piece of the tooth is broken off, or the decay is so deep that it goes below the gumline.
Either way, your dentist will probably also prescribe antibiotics to help your body to fight off the infection.
If you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t like the sound of either one of those options. What if I just leave my tooth alone? Won’t it go back to normal eventually?” Not doing anything is not an option for an abscessed tooth. Even if your pain recedes, it could easily flare up again at any time. Plus, the infection that caused the pain in the first place will still be there, putting your tissues at risk and placing you at risk of the infection spreading.
6. Preventing a tooth abscess
If you’ve never had a tooth abscess and don’t want to get one, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing this type of infection.
- Get a dentist to look at chipped, cracked, broken, or decayed teeth immediately, before bacteria has a chance to lodge in those areas and create an infection.
- Practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing regularly.
- Reduce the frequency that you drink sugary or acidic drinks.
Contact us for your dental appointment today.