Extracting The Truth: 3 Toothache Myths, Debunked

To have a healthy and appealing smile, brushing, flossing, and routine visits with your dentist are important. However, even when following these recommendations, you may develop certain dental issues. Toothaches are common issues that many people face, but most people are not really familiar with the causes and treatment options for this discomfort in and around one or more teeth. By debunking these common myths, you will learn the truth about toothaches. 

Myth 1: No Big Deal

One of the most common and most problematic myths people believe is that toothaches are not big deals, meaning they can be ignored. Unfortunately, ignoring a toothache will cause you to experience ongoing pain that will progressively become worse. In addition, a toothache can become incredibly dangerous if left untreated.

Most toothaches stem from an underlying infection in the tooth pulp, roots, or gum tissue. These infections require immediate treatment with antibiotics. If the infection is not treated efficiently and effectively, it may move into your bloodstream, causing you to be septic, which can be life-threatening. 

If you are experiencing the following signs of a toothache, seek out emergency dental care:

• Sharp, throbbing, continuous pain that affects one or more teeth

• Swelling around the affected tooth

• Foul taste in the mouth

• Foul breath

• Throbbing jaw, ear, or head pain

• Fever

After an examination that includes a physical inspection and x-rays, your dentist will be able to locate and treat a toothache.

Myth 2: Aspirin Treats Toothaches

Crushed aspirin was a common treatment for toothaches used in the past. Individuals would crush an aspirin and apply the powder directly to the painful tooth. The aspirin was meant to ease the inflammation while "absorbing" the infection from the problem tooth.

Most people may have thought they felt relief by rubbing the crushed aspirin on the affected tooth, but this form of treatment is not a long-term solution. 

A topical application of aspirin will not ease any inflammation nor will it treat an underlying infection. Visiting your dentist is imperative to not only eradicate the pain, but to also prevent further health problems the infection may cause. 

Myth 3: Extracting the Tooth Is the Only Treatment Option

Another myth that needs to be addressed involves tooth extractions. If you are experiencing a toothache, you may feel anxiety about visiting a dentist because you believe extracting the tooth will be your only treatment option available. Fortunately, that is not true, but the specific treatment needed will depend on the severity of your toothache. 

In some instances, a root canal treatment can be used to ease your pain and treat the infection. During this procedure, your emergency dentist will remove infected pulp from the tooth's roots before filling it with a dental grade bonding material. 

This protects the tooth from further damage while easing the toothache without having to extract the actual tooth. Prescription antibiotics may also be necessary for the most effective treatment of the infection.