Pain Management

Dental pain can occur for a variety of reasons, but no matter the cause it should be rapidly addressed. Not only does it indicate that there is a significant issue that must be handled so that it doesn’t exacerbate into even worse problems, but dental pain can also impede the body’s natural healing processes. Effective dental pain management therefore includes not only diagnosing the underlying problem, but also thoroughly resolving it. Following are some procedures that are used as part of dental pain management.

Root Canals

When a tooth is badly damaged or infected, as in the case of a cracked tooth, a very deep cavity or trauma, a root canal is necessary in order to clean the canals that are deep in the tooth’s root so as to protect it from further damage. The dentist begins by numbing the tooth and then making an opening down into the pulp chamber, where the infection is. The canals of the tooth root are then cleaned and shaped so they can receive the filling material. The filling material prevents any further infection or contamination from occurring in the open canals of the tooth. On top of this canal filling material the dentist will place permanent filling or a crown in order to seal the surface of the tooth.

Sedative Fillings

Sometimes a tooth is very badly damaged or decayed but it cannot be effectively addressed or handled in a single dental visit, perhaps partly due to inflammation, in which case a sedative filling may be used. A sedative filling, which is normally made up of oil of clove and zinc oxide, works to essentially calm a tooth so that it can begin to repair itself. In order to use a sedative filling, the dentist must first remove all decayed or weakened areas of the tooth. After the sedative filling is added and has hardened, the oil of clove helps to soothe pain and the zinc oxide helps to disinfect the area. The dentist will determine how long a sedative filling should remain in a tooth, but in most cases they are left in for about a month. Once the dentist has determined that the tooth has calmed enough, they may be able to place a crown on the tooth rather than performing a root canal or extraction. In some cases a root canal or extraction is still necessary, but a sedative filling is used in the hopes that they can be avoided.


There are several reasons for why a tooth extraction may need to occur. A tooth that has been thoroughly damaged by either trauma or decay but that cannot be fixed with a filling, a crown or some other treatment may need to be removed. A tooth that is blocking other teeth from coming in, such as baby teeth that don’t fall out before permanent teeth try to take their place, may need to be removed. When an individual is getting braces in order to realign their teeth, there may be a need to create more space by having a tooth–or even several teeth–removed. Wisdom teeth sometimes fail to come in properly, causing irritation, swelling and pain and therefore need to be removed. In cases where a tooth extraction is necessary, the tooth is entirely removed from its socket in the bone.


While grinding your teeth at night may simply seem to be an irritating habit, it can actually cause a considerable amount of discomfort, including a sore jaw, a headache and even tooth pain. A dentist will be able to determine whether teeth grinding is occurring, and can help you address the issue with the use of a nightguard. An impression of your teeth is taken so that the niteguard can fit snugly and comfortably in your mouth while you sleep. The function of the niteguard, of course, is to protect the surfaces of your teeth in the case that you do grind them. This can prevent jaw muscle strain, as well as tooth chipping and cracking.

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