Tooth Aches


SYMPTOM:  Sever, throbbing pain to hot that is relieved by cold for a brief while or sharp pain to hot or cold that throbs or lingers for more than a few minutes.

WHAT TO DO:  This is probably a dying nerve. Call your dentist immediately for an appointment, or page the dentist if it is after business hours. You may find that anti-inflammatories may help, such as 1-2 Motrins.

SYMPTOM: Moderate pain to hot, cold or sweets that goes away within a few seconds.

WHAT TO DO: This is a live but irritated nerve. It may settle by itself. Avoid hot or cold foods for a few days. If it continues make an appointment to see your dentist.

SYMPTOM: Severe pain to biting that lingers.

WHAT TO DO: May be a cracked tooth, avoid biting on the area and see your doctor within a few days.

SYMPTOM: Sudden pain to biting that disappears immediately.

WHAT TO DO: This may be a defective filling or cracked tooth. Avoid biting on the area, this may settle down with time. Contact a dentist if it doesn't settle down within a few weeks.

SYMPTOM: Pain to tapping on the tooth.

WHAT TO DO: May be an infected nerve or gum. Avoid biting hard on the area, if it doesn't settle down within a few weeks call your dentist for an appointment.

SYMPTOM: Pain to biting on a new filling that feels "high" once the anesthetic wears off.

WHAT TO DO: Avoid chewing hard foods, a minor bite adjustment may be needed. You should make an appointment with your dentist within 1-2 days.

NOTE: Never put aspirin on the inflamed area. This will burn the tissue and make things worse.

Knocked out permanent tooth

WHAT TO DO: See your dentist immediately. If there is any debris on the tooth gently rinse with water. Re-implant the tooth if possible and stabilize by biting down gently on a towel or handkerchief. Avoid additional trauma to the tooth while handling. Do not handle the tooth by the root. Do not scrub or brush the tooth.

If you are unable to re-implant:

  • Place tooth in milk, cold whole milk is best followed by cold 2%.
  • Wrap tooth in saline-soaked gauze
  • Leave tooth in mouth to maintain with saliva

Displaced tooth

WHAT TO DO: Keep area clean. Avoid chewing hard on displaced tooth. Call your dentist for an immediate appointment.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

WHAT TO DO:  If a large part of the tooth has broken off, the nerve is visible and bleeding or the tooth is very painful, please call immediately for an appointment, or call the Emergency Dental Services if you cannot reach your dentist within a few hours.  If possible, save the piece of tooth and keep it in contact lens saline or milk.  We may be able to re-attach it.  Clean the area with warm water.  Avoid hot or cold foods.

Severe or moderate swelling

WHAT TO DO:  Apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek.  Avoid heat with this.  You should call your dentist immediately for an appointment.