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Toothache: When Should I Call My Dentist?

Woman with a toothache holding her face to where the pain is

You woke up with an ache in one of your back molars and now it’s lunchtime and it’s still sore –the pain hasn’t subsided. Ralhan Dental’s family dentistry in Oakville advises you not to panic just yet as there are a number of causes for toothaches, some less frightening than others. However, you should give us a call to make an appointment to get it checked out, in case the problem is related to an infection and needs more immediate attention.

Pain is our body’s caution flag – it lets us know that there’s something not quite right with our body. The problem could be something simple, like stubbing our toe or more severe like burning our hand on a pot.  When you experience pain in your tooth it’s the nerves inside your tooth’s pulp chamber that signals the pain to your brain and this pain can be caused by a number of oral health issues, including:



A loose or cracked tooth

An abscessed tooth

A damaged filling

Infected gums

Grinding your teeth

Gum disease


If your toothache pain persists for more than a day or two, is very severe, or you have a fever, an earache or it’s painful to open your jaw, then you should make an appointment with your dentist immediately as these symptoms are signs of an infection.

However, if you’re unable to make it to your dentist immediately there are a few home remedies that can help relieve the pain temporarily until you’re able to get an appointment.

Clove Oil

Clove oil is a great pain reliever, it contains eugenol which is an anesthetic, and cloves, in general, are known to numb nerves. Make sure, however, not to pour the clove oil directly on your tooth, it can actually make the pain worse. It’s best to pour a small amount on a cotton ball or cloth and hold it against your tooth instead.

Salt Water

Try adding a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water to rinse out your mouth. This method will help reduce any swelling and clean any irritants from your mouth. It will also draw fluid that may be causing the swelling.

Apply Ice

Take an ice pack, wrap it in a towel and apply it to the jaw where you’re experiencing pain. Ice helps reduce inflammation and can numb the pain temporarily. However, never apply ice directly to your tooth.

Remember, these are only short-term solutions. Don’t leave the pain too long before seeing your dentist and if the pain persists after a day or two, even if it’s intermittent, call your dentist and try to get an appointment right away. Any oral pain is an indication that you should have your dentist take a look at what’s going on.

If you’re experiencing a toothache or another oral health problem please contact Ralhan Dental’s family dentistry in Oakville today. Don’t put yourself through unnecessary pain. We’ll help relieve your toothache and get you on the road to good oral health.