What really helps against toothache
Toothache is really not a pleasure. Regardless of whether the toothache only develops during eating or whether it persists you: the complaints must always be taken seriously. Experts explain what can be done about toothache and how it does not arise.
Always take toothache seriously
Health experts keep pointing out the importance of taking toothache seriously. If the pain is caused by inflammation of the gums, for example, and remains untreated, the germs can enter the bloodstream via the foci of inflammation and thus promote arteriosclerosis, among other things. The dangers of the inflammation can even extend to the heart. However, despite the often severe complaints and knowledge of the possible consequences, some of those affected do not go to the doctor. Experts from the Center for Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University Hospital Jena (UKJ) explain what can be done about a toothache, why you shouldn't be afraid of the treatment and how to prevent the symptoms from occurring.
The hardest substance in the human body
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but our teeth also have a “soft side”. They are not just lifeless chewing tools.
“Like every organ in our body, every single tooth has a complex network of blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and nerve fibers. These extend from the dental pulp, the so-called pulp, to the dentine, also called dentin, ”explains senior physician Dr. Markus Reise, dentist in the polyclinic for conservative dentistry and periodontology at the UKJ in a message.
"This enables us to perceive heat, cold, pressure or chemical stimuli - and also pain," said the expert.
Caries as the main cause of the pain
Quite often there is tooth decay and its consequences behind toothache. Caries occurs when the bacterial biofilm, i.e. plaque, is not regularly and thoroughly removed from the teeth.
This favors acid-forming microorganisms to destroy the hard tooth substance. In the worst case, this leads to pulpitis, a - very painful - inflammation of the dental pulp.
“Unfortunately, patients often only notice tooth decay when it is advanced, in the form of a sore tooth or a hole. It is therefore important to go to the dental check-up twice a year, ”says Reise.
The dentists can recognize even the smallest carious lesions, for example by means of bitewing x-rays, and treat them early.
Infections can become life-threatening
As the UKJ announcement states, if you have a toothache, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Although there are painkillers, some natural immediate aids and home remedies for toothache that may provide temporary relief, they do not combat the cause of the pain.
"Simply waiting or delaying your visit to the dentist can have serious consequences," warns the experienced dentist. The bacterial infection of the tooth can spread.
Not only on the surrounding jawbone, but even in the entire neck and head area up to the chest area. "Such infections can be life-threatening for the patient."
Minimally invasive therapy options
However, many sufferers shy away from the dentist for fear of the drill and the pain of the treatment.
According to the trip, however, various minimally invasive therapy concepts are also offered. This may make it possible to remove the caries without a drill, for example using laser or caries infiltration therapy.
But only if the holes are not too big. In the case of gum infections such as gingivitis or periodontitis, the dentists at the UKJ like to resort to gentle soft laser therapy.
Treatment under general anesthesia is only necessary in very rare cases. A gentler method is sedation with nitrous oxide directly at the treatment chair. Those who are afraid of the treatment are best addressed to the dentist.
"Fear should never be the reason to shy away from treatment," says Reise.
This is how you can prevent it
So that toothache does not arise, everyone can prevent it themselves. Oral hygiene at home is crucial.
The expert recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, paying particular attention to cleaning the interdental spaces. Interdental brushes or dental floss can help. Professional tooth cleaning also protects against gingivitis.
If you pay attention to the right nutrition, you will also do your teeth good: eat less low-molecular carbohydrates or acidic foods such as sweets. Acidic drinks such as soft drinks should also only be consumed in moderation.
Instead, opt for a vitamin-rich diet with fruits and vegetables. It also protects the gums. Whole grain products are also recommended.
In addition, regular visits to the dentist are important, ideally from the first tooth. (ad)