​​Toothache​​

A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth that may be caused by:​

  • ​Tooth decay.

  • Abscessed tooth.

  • Tooth fracture.

  • A damaged filling.

  • Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth.

  • Infected gums​.

It is not uncommon to experience a toothache, but the severity and the persistence can vary greatly, from slight pressure to sever pain that can radiate to the jaw, ears or cheeks. The most common symptoms of a toothache include:​

  • Tooth pain that may be sharp, throbbing, or constant. In some people, pain only occurs when pressure is applied to the tooth.​

  • Swelling around the tooth.

  • Fever or headache.

  • Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth.

See your dentist as soon as possible about your toothache if:

  • You have a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days.

  • Your toothache is severe.

  • You have a fever, earache, or pain upon opening your mouth wide.

Proper identification and treatment of dental infections is important to prevent its spread to other parts of the face and skull and possibly even to the bloodstream.​

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started. ​

To treat your toothache, your dentist will first obtain your medical history and conduct a physical exam. He or she will ask you questions about the pain, such as when the pain started, how severe it is, where the pain is located, what makes the pain worse, and what makes it better. Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose, and neck. X-rays may be taken as well as other tests, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing your toothache.​

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth's nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling of the jaw. 

Since most toothaches are the result of tooth decay, following good oral hygiene practices can prevent toothaches. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly with fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing once daily, rinsing once or twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash, and seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning. In addition to these practices, eat foods low in sugar and ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride applications.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​



​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.