Caring for the dental health of the Macarthur community
The following is suggested as a simple guide for the temporary treatment of toothaches.
A dentist should perform proper diagnosis and definitive treatment as soon as possible.
No responsibility can be taken if the suggested remedies do not have the desired effect.
SYMPTOMS: Brief sensitivity to cold, often when brushing teeth.
POSSIBLE CAUSE: Exposed roots (receded gums); abrasion at gumline of tooth from hard brushing; or a small cavity or crack.
REMEDY: Try desensitising toothpaste for 1 week and have your teeth checked.
SYMPTOMS: Continuous dull ache in upper back teeth. Pain worsened when teeth closed quickly together; or when lifting head quickly; or when walking up/down stairs. Usually have a current bout of cold or 'flu.
POSSIBLE CAUSE: Inflamed or infected sinuses (sinusitis).
REMEDY: Treat as for a cold/'flu. Try sinusitis preparations e.g. "Sinutab" as a temporary relief, and arrange for proper medical and dental check-ups.
SYMPTOMS: Moderate throbbing pain started by hot/cold food, lasting for some time.
POSSIBLE CAUSE: Large cavity or crack in tooth.
REMEDY: Toothache drops and painkillers may offer temporary relief. Antibiotics will be ineffective. Seek immediate dental treatment.
SYMPTOMS: Strong pain starting spontaneously and lasting for long periods. Sometimes worsened by hot food or drink. May not be relieved by painkillers.
POSSIBLE CAUSE: Very large cavity in tooth, thus leading to increasing nerve pain. May soon result in abscess and rapid worsening of condition.
REMEDY: Toothache drops, painkillers, or antibiotics may not work well. Seek immediate dental treatment.
SYMPTOMS: Strong, deep and lasting pain, and perhaps swelling of face.
POSSIBLE CAUSE: Dead (abscessed) tooth.
REMEDY: Toothache drops ineffective. Painkillers are largely ineffective. Antibiotics may give temporary relief but are unwise without immediate dental treatment to properly control the source of the infection.
Oral abscesses can be very dangerous if not treated promptly. The swelling can advance rapidly and cause difficulty in opening the mouth, or it can restrict breathing. This will complicate treatment if allowed to progress. Wherever possible, drainage through the tooth root and disinfection of the root canal is the primary treatment of choice to control the SOURCE of the infection. Antibiotics are supplementary to help control the infection that has spread into the bone and surrounding tissues, but they cannot penetrate to the source within the root canal and should not be relied upon for primary treatment.
Referred pain: The pain may often feel as if it is coming from an area that may not be the true source. The pain may be "referred" from bottom jaw to top jaw, from the back to the front, or vice versa. However, with oral pain, it will not be referred from one side to the other. Generally, pain from bottom teeth will often refer to the ear, causing an apparent earache, but an examination by a GP will find no evidence of ear infection. Upper teeth frequently refer to the temple and infraorbital region.
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