Toothaches and gum problems are common but usually can be prevented by taking good care of your teeth and gums.
Keeping your teeth, gums, and the bones around your teeth healthy requires regular brushing, flossing, and good nutrition.
But if for some reason you do begin to notice tooth pain and swollen gums, you should know what the possibilities are, and what you should do.
To help you, Forster Dental Centre has put together the following information.
Tooth pain and swollen gums?
The first thing you should know is that if you have a toothache and swollen gums, there is likely nothing you can do to “cure” the problem. Normally, by the time these symptoms appear, something is wrong that will need dental intervention.
Later, we will discuss some things you can do to relieve pain and reduce swelling, but the root problem will call for a visit to your Forster Dental Centre dentist.
The second thing to know is that pain in the mouth easily “refers” to other areas. What this means is that generalized pain, or ‘spread out’ pain, may not be coming from where you think it is.
If you do have swollen gums and a painful tooth, there is a chance you have an abscessed tooth. Let’s take a look at a tooth abscess, then talk about other possibilities and how to deal with them.
If you suffer from an infection at the root of your tooth, it forms a pus pocket, or abscess. These don’t always hurt, but many do, and the pain may well be felt in the tooth. If the pain and swelling goes away it does NOT mean the abscess is gone, instead it means that the abscess has probably ruptured and the pressure it causes is temporarily gone.
Complete symptoms of an abscess include:
- Severe pain and a throbbing toothache that can radiate to the jawbone, neck, or ear
- Hot or cold tooth sensitivity that lingers
- Pressure sensitivity
- Facial or gum swelling
- Bad breath
- Soreness in your neck and jaw from swollen lymph nodes
- Rotten or sour taste in your mouth
Abscesses can be extremely dangerous. Here is an alarming list of what can happen:
- Infection of the surrounding bone. If infection spreads into these bones, surgical removal of the bone may be required in order to arrest further spread.
- Tooth loss. If an abscess persists without treatment, endodontic therapy may not be possible and tooth replacement will be necessary, if it is even possible.
- Infection in oral soft tissues and sinuses. An abscess in upper teeth can lead to sinus infections.
- Septicemia. Septicemia occurs when a pocket of infection ruptures and circulates through the body. This is life-threatening and often requires long-term hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
- Brain. Infection from a dental abscess can enter the brain. A brain abscess can be difficult to treat due to the blood-brain barrier.
So, even though there are many less serious possibilities, go see your dentist!
Other causes of toothache and gum swelling
There are other issues that can lead to pain and swelling.
Here are a few:
- Wisdom tooth irritation: As wisdom teeth attempt to break through the gums, swelling may occur. There can also be irritation after a wisdom tooth is removed, but this is a normal part of the healing process.
- Gingivitis: This is the most common cause of puffy, red and irritated gums, though this does not usually cause tooth pain. The earlier you treat gingivitis, the better your chances are of reversing the effects of it on your dental health.
- Vitamin C deficiency: Swelling around the teeth is one symptom of this vitamin deficiency.
Dealing with the pain and swelling
Here are some remedies to try on your way to Forster Dental Centre:
Saltwater Rinse. Swish warm, salty water around your mouth. Mix 1/2 teaspoon table salt to 8 ounces of water and don’t swallow the mixture.
OTC Pain Relievers. Acetaminophen for kids and your choice of over-the-counter medicines if you are an adult.
Cold Compress. For swelling and pain control, put an ice pack on your cheek. Do not apply ice directly as it can cause frostbite.
OTC Anesthetics. These pain-relieving gels and liquids can be directly applied to a sore tooth and nearby gums.
Clove Oil. This natural remedy numbs pain when rubbed directly on the sore area, or soaked on a cotton ball.
Your local dentist – Forster Dental Centre
At Forster Dental Centre, we provide each patient with the care that allows them to maintain healthy teeth and a beautiful smile for life! We offer an extensive range of dental services from preventative dentistry to restorative dental options along with the latest in cosmetic dentistry solutions for straighter and whiter teeth.
We pride ourselves on listening to the needs and concerns of all our patients and aim to provide you with the personalised attention you and your family deserves.
Same day dental emergency appointment available!