Toothache can happen for many reasons and is sometimes benign, but toothache accompanied by swelling is more likely to indicate a serious problem.
If you have pain and swelling in your mouth, it's important to see your dentist or doctor as soon as possible. They'll aim to find out what's causing your symptoms so they can treat the problem at the cause.
Teeth can hurt for many reasons, and toothache can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. This pain may be constant, intermittent or only hurt when you bite down with the tooth. It may affect a single tooth or several teeth and could also spread to the jaw, ear or head.
Swelling (inflammation) can affect the gums, other soft tissues in the mouth, or may be in the jaw or face. If you have swelling around a painful tooth, these symptoms are likely connected. Other related symptoms could include tooth sensitivity and bleeding gums.
If you have a toothache without swelling, you should make an appointment to see a dentist if the pain lasts longer than two days. They'll try to find out what's causing the pain and may prescribe pain relief medication to help you manage the discomfort.
If you have any swelling in your mouth, face or jaw, see your dentist or a doctor as soon as possible. This can sometimes be a sign of an infection, which can get worse the longer it isn't treated, as well as prolonging your discomfort.
Other possible signs of an oral infection include discharge from the mouth, trouble breathing or swallowing and fever. If you have any of these symptoms, make an emergency appointment with your dentist or visit your nearest emergency room.
Not going to the dentist and hoping that your toothache and swelling will go away on their own could be dangerous if you have an infection. Even if your symptoms do subside, the underlying problem could still be present, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
There are many possible causes for dental pain. You'll need to see a health professional to get a reliable diagnosis and discuss your treatment options.
Swelling of the mouth, jaw, face or neck can also have many possible causes, including:
If your gum or face is swollen around a painful tooth, both of these symptoms likely have the same underlying cause.
If you visit a dentist because you're worried about a swollen or painful tooth, they'll ask you to describe your symptoms and may enquire about your medical and dental history and any medication you're taking.
They will then examine your mouth to see if they can spot any signs of a problem. This may involve taking an x-ray to see inside the teeth and beneath the gums. This is necessary to diagnose or rule out issues such as a tooth infection or dental abscess.
Once they've completed the examination, your dentist may be able to diagnose the problem and discuss appropriate treatments with you. Depending on what's causing your toothache and swelling, you may be given advice for how to recover at home or your dentist may recommend a treatment such as:
If your symptoms aren't caused by a dental issue, your dentist may refer you to a suitably qualified health professional who can help you.
Not all tooth pains and facial swelling require treatment. Your dentist may prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication or other remedies to help you manage your symptoms at home while you recover. Always follow the instructions on the packet when taking any medication.
You could also improve your chances of a full recovery by:
If you want more advice or want to talk to a Brisbane dentist, call our team at Face Value Dental today. Get in touch on (07) 3221 0677 or book an appointment at your nearest clinic to find out how we can help.
Healthdirect. Toothache and swelling [Online] 2017 [Accessed March 2020] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/toothache-and-swelling
Healthline. What’s Causing My Face to Swell? [Online] 2018 [Accessed March 2020] Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/facial-swelling
Healthdirect. Tooth abscess [Online] 2019 [Accessed March 2020] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tooth-abscess
Better Health Channel. Teeth and mouth care [Online] 2019 [Accessed March 2020] Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/teeth-care