What to Do If Your Tooth Hurts

Many times we see patients who come in saying things like, "My tooth started hurting a few months ago and so I started brushing more," or ,"When my tooth started hurting I just started taking ibuprofen. That was a year ago." The sad truth is that for almost every story we hear like that, there's a decay-ridden tooth ready to be either removed completely or replaced with an implant.

If your tooth starts to hurt, here are the steps you should take to prevent pain, save money, and salvage your tooth:

1.) Call and Schedule an Appointment Immediately: If your tooth is hurting, there is a good chance that decay has reached the root and action needs to be taken immediately to prevent further pain and damage.

2.) Take Note of the Type of Pain You Are Experiencing: If you are sensitive to hot/cold temperatures, then the fix may be as simple as prescribing a strongly fluoridated toothpaste. However, if you experience severe pain when biting down on food, have lingering sensitivity even after cold/hot food is swallowed, feel a dull ache near the top of your teeth, or experience acute and constant pain from an entire area of the mouth, you may need an emergency root canal to preserve the tooth. Take note of what pain you are experiencing and let your doctor know.

3.) Reduce the Pain with an Ice Pack or Ibuprofen: Until your appointment you may experience ebbing and flowing of your pain--we recommend our patients try to numb the intense moments of tooth pain with an OTC pain reliever or an ice pack.

Talk to your dentist about different options for dealing with a decayed tooth that is causing you pain--our goal is to help you minimize pain, to optimize comfort and confidence, and to save you time and money. Don't be afraid to ask questions and understand the pros/cons to every treatment option.

Suggested Reading: 4 Tips for Getting the Most out of a Dental Appointment

Dr. Rhet Schershligt is a dentist in Salt Lake City with a passion for providing pain-free dental care. If you are experiencing any discomfort or even just a lack of confidence when it comes to your smile, call doctor Scherschligt's office at 801-484-1032.