How to Get Rid of a Toothache — Fast!

Woman holding a cold compress against her cheek to ease the pain of a toothache

Waking up to a sharp and throbbing pain inside your mouth could mean one thing: you have a toothache. Tooth pain seems to appear quickly and with intensity, making it even more urgent to deal with the root cause as soon as possible.

Read on to learn more about why you may be experiencing tooth pain and how to get rid of a toothache fast!

The Top Symptoms of a Toothache

Here are some telltale signs you have a toothache, which may indicate a larger problem at bay:

  • Sharp pain. You feel intense, sharp pain in a specific area in your mouth.
  • Throbbing. You’re experiencing throbbing tooth pain that comes and goes.
  • Swelling. You can feel swelling inside your mouth or around your jaw area.
  • Tenderness when chewing. You feel pain in your mouth when chewing your food.

In addition to tooth pain, you may be experiencing other accompanying symptoms of your toothache, including:

  • Headache or migraine. Toothaches can trigger headaches and migraines.
  • Pain in your ear, jaw, or face. Besides tooth pain, you may experience pain in other areas of your mouth and face.
  • Foul smell and/or taste. You may experience drainage around your tooth that tastes and smells bad.
  • Tooth sensitivity. Hot and cold sensations on your teeth can feel more intense during a toothache.

If you’re experiencing a combination of these symptoms, it’s important to seek treatment from your dentist to prevent your condition from becoming worse. Unfortunately, an untreated toothache won’t go away on its own. Find a treatment as soon as possible to get rid of your tooth pain.

Potential Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including tooth decay, gum disease, a cracked or broken tooth, and infection. In addition, tooth pain can also be caused by issues such as grinding or clenching of the teeth or jaw issues. Learn more about what may be causing your toothache below.


A cavity is a hole in a tooth caused by decay, which can lead to tooth pain. The pain may be dull and constant or sharp and severe, and can be triggered by hot, cold or sweet foods and drinks. To treat a cavity, a dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill it with a filling material to prevent further damage.

Chipped or Cracked Tooth

A chipped or cracked tooth can cause tooth pain because the damage can expose the sensitive inner layers of the tooth, called the pulp, to hot or cold sensations. This can lead to inflammation and nerve damage, causing pain and sensitivity. To address a chipped or cracked tooth, a dentist may recommend a filling, crown, or other treatment to repair the damage and prevent further damage to the tooth.

Damaged Filling or Crown

A damaged filling or crown can cause a toothache because it can allow bacteria to enter the tooth, leading to decay and infection. Additionally, the damaged filling or crown can put pressure on the tooth, causing pain and sensitivity. To address a damaged filling or crown, a dentist may recommend a replacement filling or crown to repair the damage and prevent further damage to the tooth.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can cause tooth pain because it leads to inflammation and infection of the gums, which can cause the gums to recede and pull away from the teeth. This can expose the sensitive root surfaces of the teeth, leading to pain and sensitivity. A dentist may recommend a professional cleaning, medication, or even surgery to remove plaque and tartar build-up, reduce inflammation and infection, and promote healthy gum tissue.

Impacted Tooth

An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to fully emerge from the gums because it is blocked by other teeth or bone. This can cause tooth pain because it can lead to inflammation, infection, and pressure on surrounding teeth. To address an impacted tooth, a dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment to reposition the teeth and allow the impacted tooth to emerge properly. In some cases, they may recommend surgical extraction to prevent further damage and pain.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can cause toothaches because it wears down the surfaces of the teeth and causes chips, cracks, or fractures. Additionally, it can cause the muscles of the jaw to become overworked and fatigued, leading to pain and tenderness in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Dentists can create a custom-made night guard to wear while sleeping to protect the teeth from further damage.

Tooth Infection

A tooth infection can be caused by tooth decay or trauma to the tooth and may lead to inflammation and damage of the tooth’s pulp, which contains the nerves and blood vessels. The infection can cause severe pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, swelling and redness of the gums, and sometimes fever. To address a tooth infection, a dentist may perform a root canal to remove the infected pulp and bacteria, and to prevent the infection from spreading. They may also recommend antibiotics to help fight the infection.

Rather than self-diagnosing, it is important to see a dentist to determine the specific cause of tooth pain and receive proper treatment.

How to Get Rid of Tooth Pain

Schedule a Visit With Your Dentist

If your toothache lasts for longer than one or two days, it’s important to see a dentist to find the root cause. When you visit your dentist, they will provide a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. They’ll ask questions about your symptoms and any past dental work you’ve had. They will also examine your teeth, gums, and jaw for signs of infection or decay. Depending on the cause of your toothache, the dentist may take X-rays to get a better view of the affected tooth or teeth. Finally, they will discuss their findings with you and recommend a treatment plan and instructions on how to care for your teeth and gums at home to help prevent future toothaches.

Manage Tooth Pain (Temporarily) at Home

There are several home remedies for a toothache that can be used to alleviate pain temporarily, including:

  • Placing a cold compress on the affected area reduces pain and inflammation.
  • Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and use it as a mouthwash to clean the affected area and reduce tenderness.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, for short-term pain management.

It’s important to note that these remedies are meant to provide temporary relief. It’s vital to see a dentist if the pain persists.

Make Your Toothache Disappear — Visit Ponderosa Dental!

Need to schedule an office visit to find out what’s causing your toothache? Give us a call at Ponderosa Dental Group to meet with Missoula’s best dentist, Dr. Dan. Learn what’s causing your tooth pain and get it resolved. Schedule a visit today on our website to start feeling relief today.