What to expect from my first dentist appointment
65% of Australians haven’t seen a dentist in two years
Many of us experience tooth discomfort or pain from time to time. Whether it starts with a little sensitivity, a dull, continuous ache, or suddenly as a short, sharp pain, any tooth-related pain is difficult to ignore. It's also generally a sign that there’s something not right with a tooth or gums.
This is where the sensitive nerves of the teeth are exposed because the enamel has eroded. Eating or drinking something cold, or hot, can cause a sudden, intense pain.
Decay occurs when a hole forms and damages the hard surface of the tooth. Pain is especially noticeable when eating sweet, hot or cold foods. Left untreated, an infection or abscess can form.
When the soft inner layer of the tooth (the dentine) becomes exposed, the nerves in the centre of the tooth react to cold or heat and sweet and sour flavours. During and after teeth whitening, tooth sensitivity is more common.
This is where the more sensitive areas of the tooth and root surfaces are exposed. Bacteria can form in pockets around the affected teeth, leading to periodontal disease.
A fracture (break), a craze (vertical line) or crack running on the inside or the outside of a tooth can cause a toothache. Cracks may affect just a portion of a tooth or the whole tooth and treatment depends on the extent of the crack.
Prevention, as well as early detection and treatment of problems, is the best way to prevent toothache
Many people grind their teeth during their sleep or when they’re stressed.
A toothache is more common for a day or so after having dental work.
Pressure builds within the sinuses from infection. This causes a flow-on effect to the sensitive nerve endings in the teeth.
A toothache is usually more noticeable for a few days after adjustments to braces and retainers.
This can occur when the wisdom teeth have not erupted or cut through the gum but instead, are putting pressure against other teeth.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent tooth-related pain:
It’s important not to put off a dental visit if you have a toothache. Early diagnosis and treatment will help ease your pain and may even save your tooth. Treatment for toothaches depends on the cause. Your dentist will need to examine your teeth to diagnose the reason and then recommend the best management.
If your toothache is due to tooth grinding, a purpose-fitted mouth guard could help protect your teeth from pressure damage.
Sometimes the cause for a toothache may be more complex, so a few appointments will be necessary.
A great place to begin is with your local nib Dental Care Centre which has 11 locations across NSW, ACT, VIC and QLD.
Alternatively, you can search for a dentist near you through nib's First Choice Network. This is a community of health providers who’ve agreed to provide nib members with quality healthcare. We recommend you and your family visit your dentist every six months for a check-up and more regularly if you have a concern.
At nib, we offer a range of Extras covers that include benefits for dental care. If you’re already an nib member, you can check your current policy using Online Services. Alternatively, you can get a quote online in just minutes.
Dr Rakesh Jivan is a general dental practitioner with close to two decades of clinical experience in private practice. He is the Clinical Director for Education at Pacific Smiles Group responsible for practitioner support and continuing professional development for all practitioners working from Pacific Smiles Dental & nib Dental Care Centres in NSW, VIC, QLD & the ACT.