A toothache can be a symptom of a deeper problem, which is why one should never be ignored. Here are a few tips to help provide you with some relief for before you arrive at the dentist:
- Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water.
- Floss teeth to dislodge any trapped food particles.
- Take aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve the pain, but do not place an aspirin directly on the affected area.
- Use a cold compress on the outside of your cheek to help relieve any pain or swelling. Never use heat as heat incubates and promotes bacterial growth.
Now, here’s a riddle: When is a toothache not a toothache? The answer is, when it’s sinusitis.
Sinusitis, the inflammation of one or more sinuses due to a bacterial infection or sinus congestion from a cold, flu or allergy, can sometimes have the same symptoms as a toothache. As the roots of the upper teeth lie very close to the floor of the maxillary sinuses (the sinuses located between the eye sockets and the upper jaw), any inflammation of these sinuses when a cold, flu or allergy attack can feel like a toothache.
If you are unsure as to the cause of your toothache, please make a dental appointment to have it evaluated, to ensure you receive the proper treatment.
Most wooden toothpicks in the United States come from birch trees in Maine, where the tree trunks are sliced into thin sheets and then cut and milled into individual toothpicks. While toothpicks work well to remove food trapped between teeth, they should be used only when dental floss is not readily available, and certainly not as an everyday replacement for floss.
Dentists can often tell if a patient is a habitual toothpick user by the telltale toothpick marks in his or her mouth. Overzealous toothpick users can cause serious problems in the mouth, including lacerated gums, damage to tooth enamel, chipping or breakage of dental veneers or bonding, and even worn tooth roots, especially where the gums have pulled away from the teeth to leave the root surfaces exposed.
While toothpicks can be a good occasional solution to cleaning teeth in a pinch, we would prefer to show you the proper flossing technique and have you develop a habit of flossing — instead of picking — on a daily basis.