I have four fillings on molar teeth that I received 10-12 years old. I didn’t get them all at once, though. Two of them don’t bother me at all, but one of them is loose, and another tooth throbs on occasion. When the pain gets severe, I hold water in my mouth to get some relief. It’s almost as if the water pressure is soothing. Last week I started using a tooth whitening kit that I bought online. I wanted to whiten my teeth before I got the silver fillings replaced with white ones. Today, the pain in the throbbing tooth got stronger and more persistent. Am I going to have to get the fillings replaced before I finish whitening my teeth? I haven’t selected a dentist yet! Thanks. Carver
You should discontinue whitening your teeth. The symptoms in your throbbing tooth indicate that the tooth pulp is dying, and you’ll need a root canal treatment for it. You also need to find a dentist to replace the loose filling before that tooth dies.
Why Does Cold Water Relieve Your Toothache?
When a patient tells us that cold water relieves a toothache, there is no doubt that the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth) is gangrenous and has almost died. Also, when your tooth is sensitive to heat, the pulp is dying.
- When decay gets beneath a filling, it spreads until it infects the tooth pulp.
- The pulp becomes gangrenous, gives off gases, inflames, increases pressure inside the tooth, and causes a toothache.
- If you cool your tooth with water, the swelling decreases somewhat and eases the pain.
- There isn’t enough room in your tooth for swelling and infection, so if left untreated, the pulp will die.
Treating the Tooth
You’ll feel relief from the pressure tooth when your dentist creates an opening for root canal treatment. Only root canal treatment will remove the infected pulp. Your dentist will clean the tooth deep into the roots, use dental material to fill it, seal it, and protect it with a dental crown.
Teeth whitening gel will irritate your teeth and cause more inflammation and pain. After your dentist treats the issues with the infected tooth and the loose filling, you can speak with him or her about your goals for whiter teeth.
Search online for an experienced dentist and schedule an appointment right away. If you’ve delayed getting treatment because you’re anxious about dental visits, look for a gentle dentist who will help you relax.
Lowell, MA, cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek sponsors this post.