Treatment of a toothache starts with locating the bad tooth. Let the patient open their mouth so that you can investigate the area. A dental mirror and dental pick are good tools to start with. First, you will carefully look around for any obvious hole or fracture. If there is nothing that you can see, however, you may still have serious decay between teeth or below the gums. So how do you tell which tooth is the problem if you don’t see anything obvious? Do this: Touch the teeth in the area of the toothache with something cold. The bad tooth will be very sensitive to cold. Now, touch it with something hot. If there is no sensitivity to heat, the tooth is salvageable.

A tooth that is, likely, beyond hope will cause significant pain when you touch it with something hot (only touch the tooth). It will continue to hurt for 10 seconds or so after you remove the heat source. This is because the nerve has been irreversibly damaged. Once the nerve is damaged at the level of the root, you might not feel either hot or cold. It will, however, be painful to even the slightest touch.

The basis of modern dentistry is to save every tooth if at all possible and not allowing the rest get affected. In the old days (not biblical times, I mean 50 years ago), the main treatment for a diseased tooth was extraction. If we find ourselves in an embarrassing situation, that’s how it will be in the future. If you delay extracting a severely decayed tooth, it will likely get worse. Decay could spread to other teeth or cause an infection that could spread to your bloodstream (called “sepsis”) and cause major damage.

The important thing to know is this: 90% of all dental emergencies can be treated by extracting the teeth.


This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace

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