My Tooth Hurts - What Should I Do?

Posted on May 23, 2022 9:00:00 AM by Jeff Rubel

shutterstock_1714402588-1Tooth pain can be an overwhelming experience and be a symptom of a serious situation that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. If your tooth starts throbbing with dull or stabbing pain, you may find yourself desperately asking a friend or family member, “My tooth hurts! What should I do?” Alleviating the pain in one thing, but addressing the cause of your toothache is the only way to bring real relief that will last.

Pain relief

Tooth pain can be caused by a number of different situations. Locating where the pain is can help you determine what is causing your tooth to hurt. But dealing with the pain first will help you to calmly consider what is happening in your mouth. A few ways to alleviate the pain in your mouth is to:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever or anti-inflammatory
  • Rinse your mouth with warm, saltwater to kill any bacteria that could be causing an infection
  • Using a cold compress against your cheek on the side of your toothache for 20 minutes at a time can reduce inflammation
  • Make sure there isn’t something lodged between the teeth or in your gums that could be causing you pain. Brushing and flossing around the painful tooth may remove whatever is causing the toothache.
  • For a natural relief to pain, crushing a clove of garlic and dabbing it around the aching tooth can kill bacteria and relieve pain


Once your pain is mitigated, the next step is to identify the cause of the toothache. If your tooth starts hurting out of nowhere, use a flashlight to try to see what could be causing the pain. Pain can be coming from:

  • A cavity
  • Infection or abscess
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Chipped, cracked, or broken tooth
  • A sinus infection could also be the cause of perceived tooth pain. If you suddenly have multiple teeth aching and there is no sign of damaged teeth and your gums are pink and healthy looking, the pain may be coming from a sinus infection instead of from your mouth.

Identifying the cause will give you more information to use to determine how soon to contact the dentist.

When to call your dentist

Some people may shy away from coming to the dentist, but tooth pain can get just about anyone to gladly sit in the dentist’s chair if it leads to relief. If your tooth starts hurting suddenly or has become more and more sensitive over time, and you have relieved the pain and tried to identify the cause, the next step is to contact your dentist.

Unless you saw that the cause of pain was a popcorn husk wedged down into your gums and you removed it, tooth pain does not simply go away or get better with time. If your pain is tolerable, getting in to see the dentist now will prevent you from having a more painful, emergency dental situation later. Whether you have gum disease, a damaged tooth, or a tooth infection, having a trained, experienced set of eyes on your mouth to not only conclude the cause of pain, but to also address the cause, will give you relief and keep your mouth clean and healthy so you can avoid future tooth pain.

 If your tooth is hurting and you need a friendly, experienced dentist to take a look, call Coral West Dental in Coralville, IA today!

Prevent the toothache | Coral West Dental

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