emergency toothache

Dear Readers,

There will be always a toothache or toothache & swelling episode on the Holiday Season or when you are on vacation which may happen to several of us.

I am writing this blogpost to help those who don’t know what to do or who can’t afford going to the dentists or physicians immediately to find out what is the source of pain and what to do about it.

These are the list of questions  that I and every doctor will ask for each patient who is in pain and or has swelling. Follow the answers is my professional advice.

Do you feel a swelling in the mouth or do you see swelling on your face looking at the mirror?

If you feel the swelling is a hard or soft on the lip or tongue side of the tooth or teeth in the mouth, then you may have an infection. Call and ask your dentist or a physician for an antibiotic. Tell the doctor your birthday, a pharmacy phone number and if you are allergic to any medication. A competent doctor at a hospital or your dentist will know what type of antibiotic to prescribe for your tooth infection. If one antibiotic doesn’t help the swelling to stop increasing in size or lessens the pain in 48 hours after taking it, it doesn’t work. Tell the doctor to change to a different antibiotic.

If the swelling is increasing in size after a few hours and is near the eye or neck or tongue area, you must ask the dentist to see you immediately or go to the Emergency Room at a nearby hospital for help immediately.

Are you in constant pain, or the pain is off and on? Is the pain is throbbing, sharp or dull? Did you take any medicine? Did the medicine help? How long have you been in pain?

What side of the mouth is the pain and or swelling? Upper: left or right, front or back teeth? Lower, left or right, front or back tooth or teeth?

Have you had any filling on this tooth before? Does it hurt to bite down? Does it hurt with hot or cold water?

Does the tooth feel loose with pain or pain and broken? How long has it been loose or broken?

Prepare to tell the doctor your accurate answers to all these questions for her or him to give you a pain medicine and prepare what to do for you upon your arrival. Go to the pharmacy and buy Over the Counter Ibuprofen, 200mg, and take 4 tablets of this.

In most pain situation, you can take 800mg Ibuprofen plus 500mg Tylenol ES together for severe pain.

For moderate pain, you can take 800mg Ibuprofen. For mild pain, 400mg or 600mg Ibuprofen will be sufficient. However, if you have stomach ulcer or if you are taking Metoprolol, Coumadin, Wafarin, then you can only take 500mg Tylenol ES and call your dentist or doctor immediately for a stronger pain medicine like Percocet or Norco. You must be a patient of record for the doctor to give you a triplicate prescription for this strong medicine.

When you arrive at the dentist’s office, she will go over your medical health and list of medicines that you are taking or not taking anything. Then she takes a few X-rays and does a clinical exam with some tests to determine the diagnosis and treatment for your pain and swelling problem.

The photos above show the patient has pain with broken and loose teeth. In one visit, following deep cleaning, cosmetic white resin bridges , veneers, and fillings were done then the extraction of loose teeth was the final step to relieve patient’s pain and appearance problems.

– Dr. ChauLong Nguyen