A toothache is by no means a pleasant experience. Decayed teeth with cavities are more prone to infections and for those of us who don’t brush well and regularly, there is a greater risk of dental problems.

What else will increase our risk of dental decay? Diabetes, cancer, malnutrition, and chronic disease can certainly precipitate and worsen dental disease. What is not as well known is that smoking will increase risk of losing your teeth early and that speed will do the same.

Most toothaches can be initially be managed at home with ice compresses and some Ibuprofen. You should see your dentist as soon as you can though. It is unlikely that the problem which gave you the toothache, will go away. Your dentist will probably need to take some xrays to determine whether further treatment is needed.

There are however times when, even if your dentist is not available (it is usually the case isn’t it, that such things seem to occur on weekends and in the middle of the night) you should go to the emergency room. If you can’t swallow, are drooling, or have a hoarse voice, the infection might have spread near your airways, which as you can imagine is not a good thing. If you have a high fever, a big area of swelling on your face or are very weak, then you should come on by the emergency room.

Antibiotics such as Penicillin are prescribed for mild cases. Sometimes, a dental block will be given to stop the pain. If the infection is more serious intravenous antibiotics will be given, a oral surgeon might be consulted and you can expect to spend the night in the hospital.