Toothache Treatment Irvine, CA

Dr. Ursula Levine, DDS | Levine Dentistry, Inc.

A toothache can range from a mild, intermittent annoyance to severe pain that makes it difficult to complete your daily activities. In some cases, a toothache indicates a serious problem that needs dental care right away. It’s better to visit a dentist early than to wait until the toothache becomes excruciating, because many dental problems are much easier to treat during their early stages.

The most important thing is to find the source of the pain. Dr. Ursula Levine will use state-of-the-art technology along with her years of advanced training and experience to arrive at a diagnosis and perform the treatment that will get you back to oral health. In addition, she understands how unpleasant a toothache can be. Her compassionate manner helps to put patients at ease.

Why does my tooth ache?

Toothaches can indicate a number of different problems with your oral health. Some of the possible causes include the following:  

  • Cavity – Toothaches very often signal a cavity, which is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria produce acids that eat away the enamel of the tooth, allowing the tooth decay to spread. It is important to treat the problem before the decay spreads into the deeper parts of the tooth, which could put the tooth and even your general health at risk.
  • Abscessed tooth – An abscess is an infection causing a small pocket of pus to build up. Tooth decay that is not treated may spread from the affected tooth into the surrounding bone and other tissue, causing an abscess to form. This leads to throbbing pain, which is often severe. In many cases, the gums may also experience swelling and sensitivity in the area around the abscess.
  • Cracked tooth – A cracked tooth can cause sharp, stabbing pain, which is usually worst when biting down on food.
  • Gum recession – The teeth are covered by enamel in their exposed areas, but the roots of teeth aren’t protected by enamel and are therefore more sensitive. Normally, the gum tissue covers the sensitive tooth roots. However, if the gums recede (pull away from the tooth roots), then normal activities like eating, drinking, and toothbrushing may cause pain in the exposed roots. Gum recession is commonly caused by gum disease, clenching or grinding habits, or excessively vigorous toothbrushing.
  • Sensitive teeth – Tooth sensitivity may be caused by thin or porous enamel. It can also be a sign of tooth damage, such as a cracked tooth. Sensitive teeth may ache when eating or drinking hot, cold, sweet or sticky foods.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching – Chronic tooth grinding or clenching can wear down tooth enamel and may cause microscopic cracks in the teeth, leading to a dull ache and a feeling of pressure in the teeth and jaw.
  • Sinusitis – If your pain is limited to the upper teeth on one or both sides of your face, the source could be a sinus infection. The sinuses are located just above the upper jaw, so pain from the sinuses may feel like a toothache. This type of pain is generally preceded or accompanied by nasal congestion and tenderness in the face around the sinuses.
  • Problems with the temporomandibular joint – The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint where the lower jaw meets with the skull, and moves during chewing. Problems with this joint can cause misalignment of the bite, putting extreme pressure on certain teeth.

It is important to investigate the source of all tooth pain. Even if the pain comes and goes, or isn’t severe, you should still have it checked out by a dentist. Ignoring a toothache might allow the problem to progress to a more serious stage. Don’t assume that your toothache will go away if you just ignore it for a while. Very often, it will only get worse.

Trying to treat a toothache yourself using home remedies is dangerous, because you could miss a serious problem with your oral health. In addition, home remedies provide only a temporary solution, because they address only the symptoms rather than the source of the pain. It is best to contact Dr. Levine and schedule an appointment so she can examine your teeth, explain why you are in pain, and treat the problem to give you relief.

How is a toothache treated?

The treatment for a toothache depends on the cause of the pain. If possible, the treatment will remove the cause of the discomfort. This could include filling a cavity, draining an abscess, performing a root canal to remove infected material from inside of a tooth, or repairing a cracked tooth.

For those whose pain is due to clenching or grinding the teeth, an occlusal guard (also called a “mouth guard” or “night guard”) can be custom fitted to protect the teeth from damage. Other strategies to address the cause of the grinding or clenching should be explored. This could include modalities such as physical therapy or biofeedback.

Patients with misalignment of the teeth, causing undue stress to be concentrated on particular teeth during chewing, may benefit from orthodontic treatment. In some cases, a surgical procedure to correct the alignment of the jaw may provide relief. Dr. Levine will refer you to a trusted specialist if you are considering these treatments. If she suspects a general health problem, such as sinusitis, she may refer you to your primary care physician for treatment.

If the cause of tooth sensitivity cannot be treated (such as enamel that is genetically thin or porous), then special toothpastes or mouthwashes may be helpful to reduce the discomfort.

Treatment of Toothache in Irvine, CA

Dr. Ursula Levine makes herself as accessible as possible to her patients. If you have a toothache or another dental emergency, she will make every effort to assess you as soon as possible. Although patients sometimes avoid the dentist because of anxiety, Dr. Levine’s compassionate manner, combined with the relaxing environment of her office, helps patients to feel comfortable coming to see her. If you need treatment for a toothache in Irvine, please contact our office to make an appointment.