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Severe Toothache? Follow These Dos And Don'ts

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Severe toothaches can be absolutely maddening. The ache can be so intense and so deep that you're unable to concentrate on anything else, let alone eat or sleep. So, what should you do if you develop a severe toothache? Here are the key things you want to do, and also some actions to avoid. 

Do: Call your dentist right away

A toothache will not get better on its own. The ache might eventually fade, but you'll still be left dealing with whatever caused the toothache—which is likely an infection in the tooth root or surrounding tissues. As such, you will absolutely need a dentist's care for your toothache and should call them right away.

Don't: Wait until morning if you have a fever

If it's nighttime and your dentist is closed, it's generally okay to wait until the morning to call them and get treatment. The exception is if you have a fever. The fever often indicates that the infection causing the toothache has spread past the tooth roots. It could be moving into your blood or your jawbone tissues, which is quite a serious situation. You will want prompt treatment before things get any worse, so call an emergency dentist or head to the emergency room. 

Do: Use NSAID pain relievers

A lot of the pain associated with toothaches comes from swelling. Your nerve tissue and the surrounding tissues swell and put pressure on the nerves in and around your tooth, which causes pain. If you can bring the inflammation down, you'll be in less pain. A good way to do that is with an over-the-counter NSAID pain reliever, such as ibuprofen. A non-NSAID pain reliever, like acetaminophen, is not likely to be as effective as it does not address inflammation.

Don't: Attempt to remove the tooth yourself

This is not a time to try to remove your own tooth, as tempting as it might be when the pain escalates. You're likely to do more harm than good. Removing a tooth with pliers or a similar device is way, way harder than it appears to be in the movies. Only a dentist should ever remove your tooth.

Follow the dos and don'ts above the next time you have a severe toothache. Hopefully, you never find yourself in this situation, but if you do, then it is always best to be prepared with the advice here.

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