If you're experiencing pain or sensitivity in your teeth, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your dentist.
What you can do
Before your appointment, make a list of:
- All medications, vitamins or other supplements you're taking and their dosages
- Any allergies to medications or bad reactions you've had to local anesthetics
- Questions to ask your dentist
Some basic questions to ask your dentist include:
- Do I have a simple cavity, or do I need a crown or a root canal?
- How many visits will it take to treat this tooth?
- When will the pain go away?
- What can I take for the pain?
- How long should I wait before I eat or drink after this procedure?
- Are there other steps I can take to prevent cavities?
- Does my local water supply contain added fluoride?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your dentist
Your dentist may ask:
- Do extremes in food temperature or sweet foods cause you pain?
- Does biting down make your pain worse?
- How often do you brush your teeth?
- Do you use a toothpaste that has fluoride?
- Do you floss regularly?
- Do you eat a lot of sweets or drink sugary beverages or sodas?
- Have you noticed dryness in your mouth?
- What medications do you take?
What you can do in the meantime
While you're waiting for your appointment, you can take some steps to control your pain. For example:
May. 30, 2014
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, if your doctor has said it's OK for you.
- Use an over-the-counter anesthetic specifically designed to soothe painful teeth.
- Thoroughly clean all parts of your mouth and teeth — don't avoid painful areas.
- Use warm water to brush your teeth.
- Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
- Avoid foods or beverages that are hot, cold or sweet enough to trigger pain.
- Caries. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec08/ch095/ch095b.html. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Dental caries (tooth decay). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/disease/dental_caries.html. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Fluoridation basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Mercury in dental amalgam. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/hg/dentalamalgam.html. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Dental sealants. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/publications/faqs/sealants.htm. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- The tooth decay process: How to reverse it and avoid a cavity. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/OralHealthInformation/ChildrensOralHealth/ToothDecayProcess.htm. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- A healthy mouth for your baby. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/ToothDecay/AHealthyMouthforYourBaby.htm. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Cavities. MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cavities. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Eating disorders. MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/eating-disorders. Accessed March 5, 2014.
- Acid reflux and oral health. Ontario Dental Hygienists' Association. http://www.odha.on.ca/drupal/node/17. Accessed March 5, 2014.
- Dry mouth (xerostomia). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/DryMouth/DryMouth.htm. Accessed March 5, 2014.
- Preventing cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/AAG/doh.htm. Accessed March 5, 2014.
- Root canals. MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals. Accessed March 5, 2014.
- Mouthrinses. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/1319.aspx. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Sheridan PJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 11, 2014.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 25, 2014.
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