Toothache: causes, home remedies and sos tips

Toothache: causes, home remedies and sos tips

Toothache: causes, home remedies and SOS tips

Toothache is extremely uncomfortable and tooth sensitivity is the main reason why many people are reluctant to go to the dentist.

Toothache: main causes

Not every toothache is the same. The cause can already be narrowed down by describing the pain. Basically, anyone suffering from a toothache should see a dentist immediately to get professional treatment. The causes of toothache vary widely from case to case but are always serious.

Toothache can be divided into certain categories with typical therapeutic approaches:

Toothache from tooth decay

Root cause: Inadequate oral hygiene and improper nutrition promote the disease. In particular, neglecting the interdental spaces provides the bacteria with a target. Sugar as an energy source promotes its spread.

symptoms: drawing pain, hot / cold sensitivity, sweet / sour sensitivity

Treatment: Caries infiltration, caries removal, filling, inlay, partial crown or crown, root canal treatment, if the tooth is destroyed, it may be necessary to remove the affected tooth

Pulpitis – reversible (reversible) inflamed dental nerve

Root cause: The inflammation is caused by mechanical, thermal or chemical irritation (e.g. during dental treatment) or by bacteria that penetrate the tooth in caries lesions or through cracks or fractures.

symptoms: severe pulling pain, mainly caused by cold

Treatment: domestic fluoridation, sealing by the dentist

Pulpitis – irreversible (irreversible) inflamed tooth nerve

Root cause: Just like with a reversibly inflamed tooth nerve.

symptoms: very strong toothache, tooth appears too high, enormous sensitivity to touch and bite, cold relieves the pain, heat increases the pain

Treatment: Root canal treatment, partial crown or crown

Dead tooth nerve

Root cause: Pulpitis can lead to tooth death

symptoms: Pressure, dull / throbbing pain, worse in the evening than in the morning, sometimes with swelling

Treatment: Root canal system, with abscess formation: incision, painkillers, antibiotics

Toothache during root canal treatment

Root cause: Root canal treatment becomes necessary if the dental pulp is damaged too much and the treatment of the inflammation with a filling therapy offers no prospect of success.

symptoms: Feeling of pressure, dull / throbbing pain, swelling

Treatment: Root canal is instrumented and rinsed, possibly crown or partial crown, in case of abscess formation: incision, painkillers, antibiotics

Toothache after root canal treatment

Root cause: previous root canal treatment

symptoms: feeling of pressure

Treatment: in the case of severe complaints: short-term use of painkillers, in the case of persistent pain, see the doctor in charge

Exposed tooth neck

Root cause: Periodontitis, wrong brushing technique, hard toothbrushes, grinding of teeth

symptoms: hot / cold sensitivity, sweet / sour sensitivity

Treatment: Domestic fluoridation, use of special toothpastes, use of ACP preparations, control of cleaning behavior, treatment at the dentist with varnishes, desensitization with laser

Toothache after tooth filling

Root cause: Caries, accident, severe abrasion of the tooth surface

symptoms: hot / cold sensitivity, strong and pulling pain

Treatment: Checking the filling level at the dentist, with deep filling: sealing and waiting, root canal treatment must be started if irreversible pulpitis is suspected, short-term: painkillers, if chemical trauma is suspected: removal of the filling

wisdom teeth

Root cause: Most people’s jaws don’t have enough room for the extra wisdom teeth.

symptoms: dull, throbbing, pulse-synchronous pain, ear and headache possible as a side effect

Treatment: Removal of the wisdom tooth, taking painkillers / antibiotics


Root cause: bacterial gum inflammation

symptoms: throbbing, dull pain

Treatment: Rinsing with chlorhexidine, cleaning the affected periodontal gap (gap between the tooth root and the tooth holder in the jawbone)

oral mucosal disease

Root cause: Inflammation of the gums, mechanical irritation, inadequate oral and dental hygiene

symptoms: burning pain, releasable with spicy food

Treatment: disinfectant and soothing ointments, control by the dentist, possibly treatment by dermatologists and / or oral, maxillofacial and facial surgeons

Cranio-mandibular dysfunction

Root cause: Overloading or incorrect loading of the chewing muscles and jaw joints

symptoms: Tension pain in the head, jaw and neck area, especially the chewing muscles and jaw joint, general condition is severely limited, tinnitus possible

Treatment: Interdisciplinary approach with dentists, orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists (or osteopaths), splint therapy

Toothache: other reasons

In addition to the main causes, there are other triggers that can be responsible for the development of toothache.

braces: Medical treatments on the teeth can also cause pain. This includes, for example, a brace that is pushing or shifting and has to be readjusted.

Dentures: Dental prostheses made of plastic or metal, like braces, can press and need to be adjusted in such cases.

Dental implants: Dental implants cause toothache if they are overloaded in terms of their functional function. A tooth crown that is too large on an implant that is too small in the chewing center hinders implant healing and leads to implant loss. A lack of cleaning causes inflammation of the implant in the peri-implant spaces, which can also trigger chronic pain.

Gnashing of teeth: Grinding of teeth (bruxism) stresses the jaw joints and the tooth surfaces and can cause tooth abrasion. The tooth surface is removed by the chewing pressure. Then the dentine follows, which can cause severe toothache. Tooth erosions with high sensitivity to pain are also observed with improper nutrition (acidic foods) or with eating disorder bulimia.

Dental Accident: Pain after a tooth accident can be due to tooth chipping, loss of filling, or tooth fracture. In any case, the dentist should be consulted quickly.

Toothache from stress

If toothache occurs, but there is no evidence of disease on teeth, tooth necks, or gums, the reason can be psychosomatic. This means that a psychological problem, for example due to excessive stress, is felt through the body in the form of abdominal pain, body aches or toothache. A patient suffering from chronic toothache without a cause should definitely question his lifestyle and avoid stressful situations. A consultation with the dentist is a good way to support this.

What helps against toothache?

If the toothache persists or gets worse, you should always see a dentist immediately.


Pain relievers are not a long-term solution and should only be used for a short time to bridge the waiting time for an appointment with the dentist. Acetyl salicylic acid, paracetamol and ibuprofen are the most common agents. These drugs do not require a prescription, but can still cause serious side effects. Acetyl salicylic acid thins the blood and should therefore not be taken before an operation. Paracetamol only has a limited effect against toothache and puts a strain on the liver. For pregnant women, it is considered safe if it is only taken for a short time. Ibuprofen works well against toothache, but can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. Painkillers of this type also promote heart attacks and strokes. Always consult the pharmacy before taking it.


As with all other inflammations, cooling also helps with those in the mouth. The cold reduces the blood supply at the origin of the pain. The cool pack should always be wrapped in a cloth before hanging up.

Dental emergency service

If you, as a pain patient, go to the dental emergency service, treatment is given to remedy the toothache. Appointments cannot be made for emergency service treatment. The treatment takes place in sequence.

SOS tips: the best home remedies for toothache

With home remedies, note that these only bring about temporary improvement. A visit to the dentist is essential!

Apple: Wrap a piece of apple in a cold cloth and use it as a pad in your mouth! This home remedy is particularly suitable for children who have milk teeth or permanent teeth.

Rosemary: Boil rosemary tea or chew on the leaves for a few minutes! Rosemary contains essential substances that relieve the pain.

Cold: Hold a damp / cold rag or a cooling compress against your cheek! Avoid direct contact with ice on skin. Rinse your mouth with cold water! Place an ice cube in the appropriate place and let it melt!

Chamomile: Use chamomile tea as a mouthwash!

High percentage of alcohol: Use schnapps as a mouthwash! The alcohol kills germs and can fight inflammation. Do not use on children!

Garlic: Put half a clove of garlic on the affected tooth or gum and let it work for a few minutes! Use garlic oil to pull oil or dab tooth and gums directly with it. Garlic has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.

Mouthwash: Rinse with mouthwash! This has a cooling effect, kills germs and also improves blood circulation.

Clove: Place a clove on the gums or directly on the affected tooth! Alternatively, you can also bite the clove or rinse with a clove infusion and clove oil.

Oil pulling: Use high-quality, cold-pressed oil – preferably sesame, almond, olive or sunflower! Take a spoonful of it into your mouth and pull it through the interdental spaces. Then spit it out.

propolis: Use propolis directly on the affected tooth or gum! Dab it on the painful area and rub it in gently. Put about five drops of it in a glass of water and use it to rinse your mouth! The substance works against inflammation and is disinfected at the same time.

Quiet: Avoid physical exertion and stress! Sleep and relaxation can also help with toothache.

Salt / saline solution: Mix boiling water with salt until it stays on the floor! When the water has cooled, use it to rinse your mouth. The salt denatures protein and uses it to fight germs. Do not use this home remedy on children who are not yet able to specifically spit out!

Painkillers: Taking a painkiller is quite legitimate for toothache!

Sweet clover: Use stone clover as an infusion or mouthwash! To do this, pour 1 liter of boiling water over 3 grams.

Tea: Rinse with St. John’s wort, peppermint, chamomile, valerian, quendel, lemon balm and sage! You can make an infusion individually or mix the teas together.

Savoy: Take a savoy cabbage leaf, remove the malfunction and wrap the leaf in a linen cloth or wound dressing! Place the envelope on the aching cheek and press it lightly against the skin.

Tea Tree Oil: Use diluted tea tree oil as a tincture on teeth and gums or as a mouthwash!

Juniper berries: Place a juniper berry on the affected tooth and bite so that the healing agents can get into the tooth!

Warmth: The damp heat of a steam bath reduces pressure and swelling, which also relieves toothache!

hydrogen peroxide: Dilute a few drops with water and use the mixture as a mouthwash! The hydrogen peroxide denatures protein and kills pathogens.

Cinnamon: Mix cinnamon in a glass of water and use the solution as a mouthwash or rub gums and teeth directly with it! The spice relieves pain and reduces inflammation.

onions: Chop an onion into very small pieces! Place this in a cloth or a wound compress and press the envelope onto the painful cheek. Leave it there for about half an hour!

Toothache in babies and children

The causes of toothache in children are many. Too much sugar and inadequate oral hygiene damage milk teeth and cause tooth decay. Regular dental check-ups are also essential for the first teeth.

Children fall quickly, especially when playing, and may damage the front teeth. Anterior tooth trauma causes severe pain. A dentist should assess whether the torn gums, fright, or tooth are causing the discomfort. Knocked out teeth and tooth pieces should be kept in a tooth rescue box until the dentist appointment.

In babies, the reason for toothache is the breakthrough of the first teeth. It presses and itches in the jaw. If the tooth eruption is associated with fever and severe diarrhea, parents should see the pediatrician.

Toothache during pregnancy

Prophylaxis is the best preventive measure!

In order not to let toothache arise and to counteract it in time, regular prophylaxis is essential! Dentists recommend e.g. B. allow professional teeth cleaning twice a year. With the DFV Dental Protection you receive up to € 200 per calendar year for your dental prophylaxis. In this way, secure yourself at least two professional tooth cleanings per year and keep your dental health and a radiant smile! If your teeth are already affected, the DFV dental protection provides up to 100% reimbursement for all dental and orthodontic treatments. Pain therapy shouldn’t be a question of cost!

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Christina Cherry
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