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Severe Tooth Pain


Registered on 2017. 09. 05

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Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. In some cases, however, the cause of severe dental pain is not obvious. For example, pain that comes on suddenly may be caused by particles of food that got lodged in a cavity and have started to irritate the nerve inside the tooth. If you lose a filling or a crown, the nerve inside the tooth may be exposed, and you may feel severe pain when air or hot or cold substances touch the uncovered part of the tooth.

Pain that becomes more severe over a period of time is commonly caused by debris lodged under the gum. Popcorn is a common offender. Because the hard cellulose fibers of the popcorn kernel don't break down, it can remain stuck between your gum and your tooth. The longer a food particle stays trapped between the gum and tooth, the greater the chance the gum will become irritated and infected and the pain will get worse. If you develop an infection, called an abscess, it can become a serious health problem if left untreated.

Pain when you bite or chew, especially if it is accompanied by a foul odor and a bad taste, can be a sign of an abscess that needs immediate treatment.


What You Can Do

First, call your dentist and make an appointment.

In the meantime, here are a few steps you can take at home to try to relieve some of the pain:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). However, be aware that you need to see your dentist. If you mask the pain with a painkiller and ignore it, the infection can spread and could become life threatening.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water every hour or as needed to ease the pain.
  • If the pain is caused by debris lodged in a cavity, washing the area may relieve the problem.
  • Floss your teeth, then run a toothpick around the gum line. This may remove debris that's lodged under the gum.
  • If you've lost a filling or crown, dip a cotton swab in clove oil and apply it to the exposed part of the tooth. Clove oil, available in pharmacies and supermarkets, works well to relieve tooth pain. You also can use a topical anesthetic, such as Anbesol, also available in pharmacies and supermarkets.
  • Putting an ice pack on your face over the area that hurts also may relieve the pain. Apply the ice for 10 to 20 minutes of every hour, as necessary.
  • If you will be traveling in an airplane, the change in pressure when the plane takes off or lands may make you feel more uncomfortable. You should get dental treatment before traveling by air.

What Our Federal Way Dentist, Dr. Brossel Will Do

Even when dental problems cause a lot of pain, the problems — and the treatments — often are relatively simple if you seek help right away.

If you have a cavity, Dr. Brossel will clean out any debris, remove the decayed part of the tooth, and place a filling. Once the inner part of the tooth is protected, the pain will usually disappear immediately.

If your problem is related to debris under your gums, your dentist will use special instruments to remove the debris. If you have an infection, you may be given a prescription for antibiotics and pain medicine. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it is important that you take it as directed until you have finished all the medication.

An abscess in the tooth or gum may require more extensive treatment, such as drainage of the abscess, root canal treatment or tooth extraction.

To learn more about severe tooth pain, please call our Federal Way dentist office today!


List of Articles

Severe Tooth Pain file

  • Sep 05, 2017

Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. In some cases, however, the cause of severe dental pain is not obvious. For example, pain that comes on suddenly may be caused by particles of food that got lodged in a cavity and have started to irritate the nerve inside the tooth. If you lose a filling or a crown, the nerve inside the tooth may be exposed, and you may feel severe pain when air or hot or cold substances touch the uncovered part of the tooth. Pain that becomes more severe...
Read more

Keys to Controlling Bad Breath file

  • Aug 02, 2017

If you’re serious about learning what’s causing your bad breath, consider scheduling an appointment with your dental professional. Given your full medical and dental history along with an oral examination, your dentist should be able to identify the culprit. The causes of bad breath are numerous and include certain foods, alcohol or cigarettes, poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, diabetes, dry mouth, sinus or throat infections, lung infections or abscesses, kidney/liver failure, gastrointest...
Read more

Injured Tooth file

  • Jun 27, 2017

How Do I Know if I Need Treatment? As with any trauma to the mouth, you should consult with your dentist immediately to determine if treatment is required. The dentist will examine the affected area and may take X-rays. If you are in pain from a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. If possible, keep any part of the tooth that has broken off and take this with you to the dentist. If a tooth is completely knocked out of the mouth by an injury,...
Read more

Periodontal Disease: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You file

  • Jun 08, 2017

It is estimated that 35.7 million Americans are living with a bacterial infection of the gums known as periodontal disease. This infection attacks the tissue that keeps your teeth attached to your gums. On average, more than 500 species of bacteria live in your mouth.2 Some of these bacteria are beneficial, while others under the right conditions can cause disease. Living a healthy lifestyle helps you keep the harmful bacteria under control. Not taking care of your overall health and your te...
Read more

Maximize Plaque Bacteria Removal Between Teeth file

  • May 08, 2017

It's important that you maximize plaque removal every day through effective tooth brushing and flossing. You must thoroughly clean around both teeth and implants. The best way to clean your implant depends on the stage of your treatment, so you should always ask your Federal Way dentist for advice about this. Immediately following surgical placement of the implant, the wound is often sensitive, so you may not be able to use a toothbrush in that part of your mouth. You can prevent plaque build...
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Diastemas and the Treatment Options file

  • Mar 06, 2017

What is a Diastema and How do I Treat It? A diastema is an area of extra space between two or more teeth. The two front teeth of the upper jaw area is where diastema is most frequently seen. Many children experience diastema as primary teeth fall out, though in most cases these spaces close when the permanent teeth erupt. Diastemas may also be caused by a tooth size discrepancy, missing teeth or an oversized labial frenum, the tissue that extends from the inside of the lip to the gum tiss...
Read more

The Important Reasons for Mouth Guards file

  • Jan 23, 2017

A mouth guard is a soft plastic or laminate device used in sports to prevent oral injuries to the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. The American Dental Association projects that one third of all dental injuries are sports related. The use of a mouth guard can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year. The types of dental injuries that can occur without the use of a mouth guard are chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, roo...
Read more

What You Need to Know About Dry Mouth file

  • Dec 07, 2016

Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while — if they are nervous, upset or under stress. But if you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems. Dry mouth can Cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking Increase your chance of developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth Be a sign of certain diseases and conditions Be caused by certain medications or medical treatments Dry mouth is not...
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Treatment Options for Diastema file

  • Oct 12, 2016

What is a Diastema and How do I Treat It?A diastema is an area of extra space between two or more teeth. The two front teeth of the upper jaw area is where diastema is most frequently seen. Many children experience diastema as primary teeth fall out, though in most cases these spaces close when the permanent teeth erupt. Diastemas may also be caused by a tooth size discrepancy, missing teeth or an oversized labial frenum, the tissue that extends from the inside of the lip to the gum tissue where...
Read more

Kids Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, and More file

  • Jun 21, 2016

Toothpastes So many toothpastes are on the market today, choosing one can be confusing. When buying toothpaste for your child, look for one that contains fluoride and tastes good. Some toothpastes also are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA Seal of Acceptance means that the manufacturer has provided data proving that the toothpaste is safe and effective. Some manufacturers choose not to seek the ADA seal of approval. So, toothpastes without the ADA seal also may b...
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Dr. Brossel is fantastic! I have always avoided going to the dentist at all costs, but immediately upon walking into their office I felt comfortable and at ease. His staff are all very sweet and helpful too. If you are in the market for a new Dentist, I would absolutely recommend Dr. Brossel and his team!

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Dr. Brossel is quick ! staff super friendly and you get what you pay for. It is a lil pricey i would suggest having a dental plan / insurance before getting anything done to help with pay but the results are worth it.

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My experience with Dr. Brossel and his staff was amazing. I highly recommend him. I see why he keeps being voted the best dentist in Federal Way.

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Dr. Brossel and the hygienists have a high quality of patient care, and they always have a smile. The front office staff is great at scheduling and dealing with insurance issues.

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Most certainly the best dentist I have had yet! Kenneth Brossel and his staff are very professional, highly knowledgeable, thoroughly precise, and better yet work in a speedy organized fashion.

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have been going to Dr Brossel for almost 30 years, and the people are wonderful!

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The contents of this website, such as text, videos, images and other material are intended for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of rendering medical advice. Please contact our Federal Way dentist, Dr. Kenneth Brossel for any additional information on implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, root canals, and more. For questions, please call (253) 925-2171.