I woke up this morning and my whole mouth aches. The pain literally radiates from one side of my jaw to the other and every single tooth is pulsating. I don’t understand what could be causing it. I haven’t hurt myself and I haven’t felt any toothaches or anything. I’m not sure what to do, because I can’t even tell what tooth is causing this and I’m supposed to start a new job today. I don’t have insurance and I can’t afford to take the day off and I really don’t want to risk losing this new job over a toothache. But I’m not sure I can work like this, though. Do I need to go to an emergency dentist or is there some alternative home remedy that will at least get me through today? –Ben
Generally speaking, if you’re in extreme pain, it’s a good idea to find an emergency dentist. However, it sounds like you’re under a lot of stress and one of the most common side-effects of that is clenching or grinding.
If your oral health has been good up until now and you can’t pin the symptoms down to a single tooth, you might be grinding your teeth while you sleep. This, as well as clenching your jaw tightly, is often a subconscious response to stimuli that’s upsetting. While you may be more prone to clenching throughout the day and you’ll probably feel a twinge when you do it, nighttime grinding makes you feel the worst right when you wake up. As your jaw muscles have a chance to relax throughout the day, the pain generally subsides. Try taking an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, and alternating hot and cold compresses. If this does the trick, you’ve probably found the culprit, but if you still hurt, you should book an appointment with an emergency dentist.
If the pain subsides today, try to be aware of any clenching or grinding you do. Also take note of whether your jaw is bothering you in the morning again. If it is, you should check with a dentist who understands TMJ disorders and can make you a night guard. This is a progressive condition, so if you don’t get some kind of treatment and stress-relief, the pain will worsen and you can do lasting damage to your teeth and jaw. Medicine and compresses may mitigate the need for an emergency dentist today, but following up with a dentist is essential for your long-term health.
This blog post is brought to you by Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phelan Thomas. For more information on the services he provides, please visit his Des Moines cosmetic dentist website.