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What should I do if I have a severe toothache? Experiencing a severe toothache can be incredibly uncomfortable and distressing. In this article, we will explore the causes of severe toothaches, potential home remedies for temporary relief, and the importance of seeking professional dental care to address the underlying issue.

Understanding and Managing Severe Toothache

Experiencing a severe toothache can be incredibly uncomfortable and distressing. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes of severe toothaches, potential home remedies for temporary relief, and the importance of seeking professional dental care to address the underlying issue.

Causes of Severe Toothaches

Understanding the potential causes of severe toothaches is crucial for effective management. Common reasons for intense tooth pain include:

Dental Decay

Cavities or dental caries can lead to tooth sensitivity and severe pain as they progress. The decay erodes the enamel and exposes the sensitive inner layers of the tooth.

Tooth Abscess

An abscessed tooth, characterised by an infection in the pulp, can cause severe throbbing pain. This condition requires prompt attention to prevent the infection from spreading. Is severe toothache a dental emergency

Gum Disease

Advanced gum disease, such as periodontitis, can result in gum recession and exposed tooth roots. This exposure can lead to heightened sensitivity and severe pain.

Tooth Fracture

A cracked or fractured tooth can cause sharp and intense pain, especially when chewing or biting. The severity of the pain depends on the extent of the fracture.

Impacted Wisdom Tooth

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause significant pain as they try to emerge or due to infection. The pressure from the impacted tooth can lead to intense discomfort.

Home Remedies for Temporary Relief

While seeking professional dental care is crucial for addressing the root cause of a severe toothache, there are some home remedies that may provide temporary relief:

Saltwater Rinse

Gargling with warm saltwater can help reduce inflammation and ease pain. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth gently.

Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help numb the pain and reduce swelling. Use an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth and apply it to the outside of your cheek for 15 minutes.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. Follow the recommended dosage and guidelines.

Clove Oil

Clove oil has natural numbing properties and can be applied to the affected area using a cotton ball. However, use it sparingly as excessive use can lead to irritation.

Peppermint Tea Bags

Cool, damp peppermint tea bags applied to the affected area may provide temporary relief. Peppermint has mild numbing properties and can help soothe discomfort.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

Rinsing your mouth with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution (1:1 with water) can help reduce oral bacteria and alleviate pain. Spit out the solution and avoid swallowing it.

Elevate Your Head

Keeping your head elevated, especially while sleeping, can help reduce blood flow to the affected area and alleviate throbbing pain.


Garlic has natural antibacterial properties. Chewing a piece of garlic or applying crushed garlic to the affected tooth may provide relief. Be cautious to avoid irritation.

OTC Topical Anaesthetics

Over-the-counter topical numbing gels or ointments can be applied to the affected area for temporary relief. Follow the product instructions carefully.

Avoid Trigger Foods

Steer clear of hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods that may exacerbate tooth sensitivity and pain. Opt for a soft diet to minimise irritation. What should I do if I have a severe toothache

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) About Severe Toothaches

1. What should I do if I have a severe toothache?

If you have a severe toothache, start by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater and applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek. Take over-the-counter pain relievers and schedule an appointment with our dentists promptly.

2. When should I seek professional dental care for a toothache?

You should seek professional dental care as soon as possible if you experience a severe or persistent toothache. Delaying treatment can lead to worsening of the condition and potential complications.

3. Can I use aspirin directly on the affected tooth for pain relief?

Avoid placing aspirin directly on the affected tooth, as it can cause irritation to the gum tissues. Instead, consider over-the-counter pain relievers following the recommended dosage.

4. Is a severe toothache a sign of a dental emergency?

A severe toothache can be a sign of an underlying issue, and it may require prompt attention. If the pain is intense, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms like swelling or fever, consider it a priority to seek emergency dental care.

5. What could be the cause of sudden, intense tooth pain?

Sudden, intense tooth pain could be due to various reasons, including dental decay, an abscessed tooth, gum disease, tooth fracture, or an impacted wisdom tooth. A thorough dental examination is necessary to determine the exact cause.

6. How can I manage toothache pain at home?

Home remedies for managing toothache pain include saltwater rinses, cold compresses, over-the-counter pain relievers, and topical numbing agents. However, these are temporary measures, and professional dental care is essential for long-term relief.

7. Can I ignore a mild toothache, or should I always seek dental care?

While a mild toothache may not always be an emergency, it’s essential to address any tooth pain promptly. Mild discomfort can be an early sign of a developing issue, and early intervention can prevent it from progressing into a more severe problem.

8. Can stress contribute to toothaches?

Yes, stress can contribute to toothaches by triggering conditions such as teeth grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching. These habits can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. Stress management techniques and a mouthguard may be recommended.

9. What are the potential complications of ignoring a severe toothache?

Ignoring a severe toothache can lead to various complications, including the spread of infection, abscess formation, damage to surrounding teeth, and worsening of the underlying dental issue. Seeking timely professional care is crucial to prevent complications.

10. Are there preventive measures to avoid severe toothaches?

Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, can help prevent dental issues that may lead to severe toothaches. Avoiding excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks also contributes to oral health.

Professional Dental Care for Severe Toothaches

While home remedies can provide temporary relief, professional dental care is crucial for addressing the root cause of a severe toothache. Dentists can perform a thorough examination, including X-rays if necessary, to identify the underlying issue and recommend appropriate treatments.

Dental Examination

A comprehensive dental examination helps identify the cause of the toothache. Our dentist will assess the affected tooth, surrounding tissues, and inquire about the nature and duration of the pain.


X-rays may be taken to get a detailed view of the tooth and surrounding structures. This can help diagnose issues such as dental decay, abscesses, or fractures that may not be visible during a visual examination.

Treatment Recommendations

Based on the diagnosis, our dentist will recommend appropriate treatments. This may include dental fillings for cavities, root canal therapy for infected pulp, tooth extraction for severely damaged teeth, or other interventions as needed.


If there is evidence of infection, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics to control and eliminate the infection. It’s essential to complete the prescribed course of antibiotics as directed.

Follow-Up Care

After initial treatments, follow-up appointments may be scheduled to monitor the healing process and ensure the effectiveness of the interventions. Any necessary adjustments or additional treatments will be discussed.

In Summary

A severe toothache is a symptom that should not be ignored, as it often indicates an underlying dental issue. It could be a dental emergency. While home remedies can offer temporary relief, professional dental care is essential for a thorough diagnosis and effective treatment. Prompt intervention not only alleviates pain but also prevents potential complications. If you’re experiencing a severe toothache, prioritise seeking dental care to maintain optimal oral health and well-being.

Why Choose Dental Clinic Radlett for Emergency Dental Services?

At The Dental Clinic Radlett, your oral health is our priority. In case of a dental emergency during our practice hours, please contact us immediately. We will make every effort to schedule a same-day appointment to address your pain and concerns. Our phone lines open at 8am, Monday to Friday.

Emergency Call Out Fee

At The Dental Clinic Radlett, your well-being is our top priority. While the initial emergency call-out fee is £300, we are committed to delivering the highest quality of emergency dental care tailored to your needs. Our experienced team will work with you to determine the most effective and cost-efficient treatment plan, ensuring that you receive the necessary care to address your dental emergency promptly.

What Our Patients Are Saying

Barry Shaw
Barry Shaw
The best care ever here if you are nervous don't be you couldn't be in better hands my wife Sally is extremely nervous and Simon always manages to calm her so she can get the care she needs we have been seeing Simon for many years if he ever moves we will have to as well thank you so much Simon Lilly and everyone else at The Dental Clinic
Natasha Brookner
Natasha Brookner
Dr Simon Assor is a sheer genius. Empathetic, Professional and a superb dentist. Wouldn’t got anywhere else.
Kevin O'Reilly
Kevin O'Reilly
Really pleased with the standard of care and professionalism. Maya explained everything throughout. Highly recommend.
Alda Lipe
Alda Lipe
Excellent service at dental clinic Radlett .Maya removed my daughter’s molar tooth and she made her feel safe and secure .The receptionist is always helpful too. I wouldn’t be happier about their service.
Haeima Khanam
Haeima Khanam
Excellent Service, Simon is the best dentist and he really makes the children feel at ease and happy to visit the dentist.
Not far In the past
Not far In the past
After an accident on my bike, I cracked my 3 front teeth. After 2 visits, you would never know I had anything wrong. Maya was extremely caring and thorough and did an excellent job. I am absolutely delighted with the result and the excellent service of the dental clinic.
Bobbie Williams
Bobbie Williams
Maya is amazing. So good with children my son was so calm and even smiling while she took his bad tooth out. Highly recommend
Justin D
Justin D
Best dentists and hygienists run by great team and professionals highly recommend
Mel Hancock
Mel Hancock
I saw Maya to get composite bonding done and I couldn’t be happier! She explained the treatment step by step and felt at ease the whole time - would highly recommend 😊
Nacho Arance
Nacho Arance
First time going to the dentist after years. Had a checkout, was quite scared but I had Maya as my dentist and all my fears went away quickly. She is so attentive, make so many questions and give me great advice to take care of my dental hygiene from now on. Great visit with a wholesome dentist.

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