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You wake up early one day with an ache in your mouth. It distracts you, and keeps you from enjoying your daily tasks. What is it? And what do you do about it?
 
A toothache usually means you have a cavity. A cavity is the deterioration of an area of the enamel of the tooth, or the hard outer layer that protects the inner tissues. This can be a problem for any age–child, teen, or adult. It is more common in children, but it can happen to adults as well. It is also called tooth decay.
   
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. Brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day, and scheduling regular dentist appointments can help prevent cavities and other dental emergencies.
 
An abscessed tooth is one in which bacteria have entered into the pulp of the tooth (the soft inner tooth, containing the connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissue). The infection may lead to pulp death. Pus builds up at the base of the jaw bone, and, if left untreated, can cause serious damage to the jaw bone, teeth, and surrounding tissue. An impacted tooth remains in the gum or bone tissue, for any number of reasons. Visit your dentist to diagnose these serious dental emergencies.
 
If you do have a toothache, first rinse the mouth out with warm water. Then, use an interdental cleaner, such as dental floss, to carefully remove any food particles stuck between the teeth. If the pain continues, call your dentist. DO NOT apply aspirin to the painful area, as that may burn your gum tissue.
 
The faster your dentist can identify the issue, the more likely the tooth can be saved. So if you have a toothache, call Jeffrey Lopes DMD at 707-996-6704 immediately!