My Tooth Hurts!! What should I do?



 A tooth may hurt for many reasons.  Relieving a hurting tooth or finding tooth pain relief as soon as possible is both desirable and a smart plan of action.  Some common causes of a hurting tooth include:

  • An area of decay (commonly referred to as a “cavity“)
  • A recently filled tooth in which the filling is hitting too hard or interfering with the normal bite
  • A temporary or permanent crown that is “too tall” and not allowing the teeth to come together comfortably
  • A sinus infection that pushes the upper molar teeth slightly out of their normal position and are tender when biting or chewing
  • Crunching ice or biting down unexpectedly on a seed or eating utensil and overloading the ligaments that hold a tooth within a tooth socket
  • Cracking or breaking a tooth or cracking or losing a filling
  • A wisdom tooth is trying to come in and may be blocked from moving into position


Contacting your dentist as soon as you notice “My tooth hurts” so that an appointment can be scheduled to determine what needs to be done to make your tooth feel more comfortable and provide tooth pain relief.  The sooner a professional assessment can be made for your situation the quicker and more economically treatment can be accomplished.

If you are not able to get in to your dentist quickly, there are some things that you can do to minimize your discomfort and find tooth pain relief from a hurting tooth:  

  • If you notice a hole or concavity that has suddenly appeared in your tooth, try to place something in the hole temporarily.  A damp piece of cotton or a bit of sugarless gum securely compressed into the hole may insulate the nerve of the tooth so that air or temperature extremes are less painful. 
  • Avoiding extremely hot or extremely cold foods or beverages will minimize discomfort until your dentist can provide more permanent treatment.
  • Chewing on the opposite side of your mouth from the one in which the hurting tooth is located and selecting softer foods will cause fewer traumas to a hurting tooth. 
  • A mouth guard, retainer or bleach tray, if you have one, may allow protection for a hurting tooth until you are able to see your dentist.
  • Over the counter pain medications can also provide some relief: aspirin, Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetominophen) depending on which works best for you.
  • If a newly placed filling or crown is hitting too hard your dentist may just need to reduce the height of the newly placed restoration to provide almost immediate relief.  Unfortunately, the crown or filling will not wear down on its own without some assistance from the dentist.
  • A sinus infection may require antibiotics to treat the infection so the congested sinuses can shrink to normal dimensions and allow the teeth to settle back into a more normal position.
  • A tooth that has received trauma from biting on something too hard may just need a few days for the ligaments to calm down and allow a hurting tooth to quiet down.
  • If a tooth has developed a cavity, lost a filling, or broken your dentist needs to examine the tooth and make the recommendation for the treatment that is best suited for each situation.
  • An un-erupted or partially erupted wisdom tooth can cause a lot of discomfort.  Trying gently to clean the gum around the erupting tooth and keeping it as clean as possible will help until more definitive treatment can be accomplished.  Rinsing with salt water or peroxide and water may also provide some relief.

Contact your dentist as soon as you realize “My tooth hurts” so that you can start feeling better as soon as possible … we want to help you find tooth pain relief as fast as possible!!

At Thomas L. Anderson and Associates, we offer patients tooth pain relief!! We look forward to working with you and your family to offer quality, affordable dental care. It is important to our dental team that we help you maintain your dental health and wellbeing! Please contact one of our three offices today to schedule an appointment today.