The three most painful dental conditions and their treatment
When a toothache strikes, it can wreck your day.
Usually, toothache comes with infection, inflammation and a range of other symptoms such as a bad taste and smell in the mouth. Other symptoms include redness, swelling of the gums and mouth, sharp pain when you bite. Some people experience sensitive or tingly teeth and pain or tenderness in the mouth. Less common symptoms are aching in the jaw; fever and pus.
You have to see a dentist immediately to help sort out the problem, which may have underlying issues that require a long-term treatment plan.
A cavity that is left untreated can result in an abscess. The pulp inside the tooth tissue dies and becomes infected with bacteria, forming a red, swollen pus-filled abscess. This is usually a sign that there are serious underlying problems that need to be identified and treated.
To get rid of a painful abscess, you could do any one of the following treatments:
- Antibiotics and probiotics for bacterial infection.
- Drainage and cleaning of the abscess site.
- Cleaning and treating the gums, if gum disease is noted.
- If it is the result of a cavity or broken tooth, then a root canal is necessary.
- Implanting a synthetic tooth to replace the problem tooth.
Cavities are small fissures in your teeth that occur when acidic foods like sugar and cool drinks erode teeth enamel, thereby exposing sensitive nerves in your teeth. You know you have a cavity when you get a sharp pain whenever you bite into something hard or something cold – it causes extreme discomfort with a shooting pain right up to your eye. Cavities have to be filled, or severe infection will eventually set in. It also hoards bits of food and will start to smell rotten after a few days.
The sharp, stabbing pains can be stopped with a visit to your dentist for a filling. The procedure includes:
- Getting rid of plague with teeth cleaning or even scaling – deep cleaning.
- Repairing or fixing the weakened area of the tooth with a filling.
- Taking antibiotics with a probiotic to clean up the infection.
When gum infection or gingivitis occurs, bacteria get into the bloodstream and spread through the body, causing health problems, especially lung or heart disease.
Gum infection leads to gum disease or periodontitis. Bacteria from the gum disease attack the tooth’s roots, cause the gum line to shrink and it can also penetrate the bone that anchors the tooth, loosening it until it falls out or causes cavities. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Genetics, hormonal imbalance and changes, cancer and cancer treatments, chronic conditions like diabetes, certain medications, drinking alcohol and smoking, substance abuse, a fatty diet high in acidic foods like sugar and neglecting to brush, floss and clean your teeth, tongue and mouth twice a day – are all factors that can cause gum infection.
Treatment for Infected Gums
The treatment of gum infection will need several visits to the dentist to save your teeth. The treatment regimen includes:
- Taking antibiotics and probiotics to ensure that gut flora remains healthy.
- Regular cleanings to remove plaque build-up.
- Medicinal mouthwashes for soothing gum and tooth pain and sensitivity.
- In some cases deep cleaning or scaling and planning of the roots to ensure gum and tooth health.
- In an extreme instance, surgery may be required.
Prevention is key
Early treatment is always best when you get a toothache or gum infection. But if you can’t get a dentist appointment immediately, home remedies may be able to ease the pain temporarily. These include taking an over-the-counter painkiller; rinsing the mouth with lukewarm saltwater; rubbing on clove oil to numb the gums; apply a cold compress to your jaw and floss gently to remove plaque between the teeth, Healthline suggests.
However, the ideal scenario is to visit the dentist regularly to prevent problems before they cause pain and discomfort. Teeth cleaning, regular check-ups and minor procedures keep your teeth healthy and prevent infection from spreading to the rest of your body.
Dental insurance helps you to cover the cost of various medical procedures, check-ups and emergencies. The amount that is subsidised by your insurance depends on which type of plan you have. Dental insurance policies help many people to budget effectively for the cost of major dental procedures by paying a monthly premium instead of having to hand over a lump sum.
As for Affinity Dental, there are three tiers of dental insurance available at different price points. Each of these options covers specific specialist work to various degrees.
Kids and grown-ups all need to visit the dentist at least every six months. Maintenance appointments can start to add up in your budget. Dental insurance covers you for any additional treatments such as crowns, root canals or fillings, whether at the dentist, or specialist practice.
Usually, a dentist will refer you to a specialist, if needed.
If you need to find an Affinity Dental approved dentist in your area, click here.