Preparing for your appointment

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.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • All medications, vitamins, herbal remedies or other supplements you're taking, and dosages
  • Any allergies to medications or bad reactions you've had to local anesthetics
  • Questions to ask your dentist

Basic questions to ask your dentist may 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?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your dentist

Your dentist may ask you some questions. Be ready to answer them to save time to go over topics you want to focus on. Questions may include:

  • 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?
  • How often do you floss your teeth?
  • Do you use toothpaste that has fluoride?
  • 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 tooth pain. For example:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, if your doctor has said it's OK for you.
  • Use an over-the-counter anesthetic specifically designed to soothe painful teeth.
  • Use warm water to brush your teeth.
  • Use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
  • Thoroughly clean all parts of your mouth and teeth — don't avoid painful areas.
  • Avoid foods or beverages that are hot, cold or sweet enough to trigger pain.
July 19, 2017
References
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  2. Dental caries (tooth decay). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/disease/dental_caries.html. Accessed March 3, 2017.
  3. Water fluoridation basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/basics/index.htm. Accessed March 3, 2017.
  4. About dental amalgam fillings. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/DentalProducts/DentalAmalgam/ucm171094.htm. Accessed March 4, 2017.
  5. Dental sealants prevent cavities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/dental-sealants/. Accessed March 3, 2017.
  6. The tooth decay process: How to reverse it and avoid a cavity. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/OralHealthInformation/ChildrensOralHealth/ToothDecayProcess.htm#. Accessed March 3, 2017.
  7. Root canals. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals. Accessed March 4, 2017.
  8. Cavities. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cavities. Accessed March 3, 2017.
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  10. AskMayoExpert. Dental caries. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
  11. Dry mouth. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/DryMouth/DryMouth.htm#. Accessed March 4, 2017.
  12. Nutrition: What you eat affects your teeth. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips. Accessed March 4, 2017.
  13. Wright JT, et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the use of pit-and-fissure sealants. Journal of the American Dental Association. 2016;147:672.
  14. Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 17, 2017.