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Toothache (cont.)

How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose a Toothache?

A medical history and physical exam will usually indicate the appropriate diagnosis. Sometimes radiographs, often referred to as X-rays, can be used along with other diagnostic aids. Panoramic radiographs and cone beam computed tomography views are used to further evaluate the teeth and bones throughout the mouth and skull. Occasionally, lab evaluation including ECG tracings of the heart will assist the doctor. If the cause is something other than a dental or jaw problem, the doctor may prescribe medications directed at the problem. If the condition is more severe, the doctor may admit the patient to the hospital for further care. The patient may be referred to a dentist for further treatment.

Are There Home Remedies for Toothaches?

  • For toothaches
    • People may use over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) Aleve or ibuprofen (Advil). Individuals with toothaches should take these medications as directed for temporary relief prior to professional evaluation.
    • Avoid very cold or hot foods because these may make the pain worse.
    • A home remedy for pain relief is to bite on a cotton ball soaked in oil of cloves. Clove oil is available at most drugstores.
    • Garlic contains a chemical called allicin, which acts as a natural antibiotic and can fight a tooth infection. By simply eating more garlic through supplementation or as an ingredient in everyday foods, one can decrease their vulnerability to infection. To help alleviate pain, garlic can be crushed and mixed into a paste with a little bit of salt and applied to the area that is infected. This won't cure the infection but may help with tooth pain and prevent the infection from growing or spreading.
    • Applying medicated relief gel like Orajel to the affected area can provide pain relief in some instances.
  • For jaw pain
    • Aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may be helpful for problems in the jaw joint (TMJ) in adults.
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol), not aspirin, should be used for children and teenagers.
    • If pain occurs every time the patient opens his/her mouth widely, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may be the source of the pain. Yawning or taking a large bite of food may intensify the pain. To manage this type of pain in the short term, one should avoid hard or chewy foods, apply moist heat to the jaw, and avoid opening wide as much as possible. An appointment with the doctor or dentist will help to determine the cause and direction of treatment.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/2/2017

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A dentoalveolar abscess is an acute lesion characterized by localization of pus in the structures that surround the teeth.

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