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What causes a toothache?

A toothache is caused by an inflammation of the nerve tissue inside of your tooth.

What can I do to stop the pain?

Most people initially experience a toothache at night when they lay down to go to sleep. The change in blood pressure in the head while lying down results in added pressure on the inflamed nerve tissue and this is what causes the pain. Often a mild pain killer along with staying in a seated position will allow the pain to subside enough to get to sleep. You should immediately contact your dentist the next day, however, as a toothache will return and the tooth's condition will continue to worsen without proper care.

Do not place food or aspirin on your tooth or gums in an attempt to stop the pain. In the best case, these will do nothing to stop the pain. In the worst case, you may cause additional damage to your teeth or gums.

What treatment options are there for toothaches?

You will likely require a root canal or an extraction. An evaluation by your dentist is necessary to determine the proper treatment. Root canals also often require a crown. If a tooth must be extracted it can usually be replaced using an implant or a bridge.

How can toothaches be prevented?

Prevention of a toothache is both the best and least expensive option. Toothaches usually occur due to untreated cavities which have the decay reach the nerve tissue of the tooth. Regular checkups and cleanings help identify and prevent cavities and fillings stop the decay process.

To prevent cavities be sure to brush twice a day, floss once a day and see your dentist regularly for checkups.