It is possible that a toothache may originate in an affected nerve because an infection has penetrated the center of the tooth or it could be due to trauma (injury). Regardless of the reason, the pain felt is disabling. In some cases, extreme decisions such as killing the nerve may have to be taken.

It should be noted that acute infections occur when bacteria have penetrated the dental pulp (nerve), and, if not controlled, they can spread to other tissues such as blood vessels, bones, and other components of the oral cavity. Poor oral hygiene and not intervening in the shortest time possible can result in the death of the nerve of the tooth, in addition to other complications if an infection spreads. 

Signs and symptoms due to the involvement of the nerve of the tooth

Some of the symptoms of dental infection are:

  •     Pain: a throbbing sensation in the tooth. An intense, stabbing and persistent pain radiate to the neck, ear, and jaw. It gets worse when lying down.
  •     Sensitivity: The person feels discomfort when chewing, clenching the teeth, and when consuming hot or cold foods.
  •     Gum injury: an area of swelling in the gingival area near the tooth has the appearance of a pimple from which pus drains. Bursting may lessen the pain, but it does not mean that the infection has been cured.
  •     Inflammation: increased volume in the face or cheeks in the vicinity of the affected part.
  •     Swollen lymph nodes: The nodes in the jaw and neck are swollen and tender to the touch.
  •     Fever.
  •     Bad breath and unpleasant taste in the mouth.
  •     Difficulty swallowing or breathing.

When the infection spreads to other parts of the body, the symptoms could become or severe with these signs:

  •     Fatigue
  •     Dizziness
  •     Reddening of the skin
  •     Perspiration
  •     Chills
  •     Inflammation that makes it difficult to open the mouth, preventing eating and breathing
  •     Dark urine

How do we kill the nerve quickly?

A dead tooth no longer receives blood; therefore, the first sign is discoloration, accompanied by pain and other symptoms. It is important to differentiate between a stained tooth and a dying one. If you drink dark drinks or smoke, your teeth will look stained or yellowish with uniform coloration; but in a dying tooth, the color is different from the others. It can be a dark opaque yellow, light brown, gray, and even black may be observed. As the tooth deteriorates, the color changes since the damage become more intense.

It is possible that before diagnosing or starting any type of treatment, your dentist will perform certain diagnostic tests that will properly guide pain management. Some examples of diagnostic tests are X-rays, computed tomography, inspection at the site of infection, and/or thermal tests to identify the sensitivity of the gums.

The tooth is made up of an outer part, the enamel in three main layers, followed by the dentin and the inner part known as the root. It contains the pulp, a soft tissue that contains nerves, connective tissue cells, and blood vessels. Each root ensures that the teeth remain attached to the gum and jawbone.

When the dentist determines that it is not possible to save the tooth, two types of dental treatments can be carried out:

  •     Endodontics or root canal treatment

Endodontics is commonly used in the management of a deep dental infection that compromises the pulp or nerve to preserve the tooth. If the root pulp is infected, treatment should be given as soon as possible, as a delay will eventually lead to nerve death.

Endodontics is a procedure that effectively removes the dead and deteriorated pulp of an infected tooth all the way to the root, completely cleaning the root canal. The dentist will remove the bacteria and then seal the tooth with a dental filling (inert and biocompatible material). A temporary or permanent crown will be placed on the tooth to prevent problems from occurring in the future. This procedure leaves the original tooth in place to maintain the integrity of the jaw. It is preferred by most dentists to save the tooth and preserve dental aesthetics.

  •     Tooth extraction

When it is not possible to restore the tooth because it is badly damaged and cannot be restored, the doctor may recommend an extraction of the tooth already dead by the dentist or specialist. After the extraction, the dentist may suggest replacing the tooth with an implant, denture, or bridge to improve dental aesthetics and prevent movement of the teeth. For this procedure, the use of anesthesia is required to prevent it from being painful.

These two methods are the most common to achieve pain relief by killing the nerve of a tooth, thus eliminating a tormenting toothache. Other treatments or procedures can also improve symptoms and temporarily relieve pain while the infection improves.

Toothache Treatment

There are different treatments for toothache within both conventional and natural medicine. Whatever method is chosen, it may relieve the pain, but any difference in effectiveness lies in the intensity of the pain, the time endured, and what triggered it. This will determine the correct dose or approach

Remember that at any sign of fever, difficulty breathing, swallowing, or red gums, emergency dental or medical assistance is recommended.

Pain can be managed by a health professional, with some of the following suggestions:

  1.   Medicinal plants or essential oils can help with pain (cloves, eucalyptus, ginger, and guava leaves, among others.)
  2.   Mouthwashes with salt or hydrogen peroxide.
  3.   Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are useful for minor pain depending upon the dose.
  4.   More powerful and effective anti-inflammatories and analgesics for acute and intense pain should be prescribed by a doctor or dentist.
  5.   Anesthetic pastes and gels (benzocaine)for localized toothache that interferes with sleep.
  6.   Application of heat or cold with thermal compresses.


To avoid unfavorable situations for your oral health, we recommend:

  •     Daily oral hygiene, brushing at least twice a day, using dental floss and mouthwash
  •     Periodic check-ups with your dentist
  •     Practice a healthy and balanced diet
  •     Drink water and avoid eating after brushing

If you’re looking for a top-notch Ventura Dentist, look no further than Channel Islands Family Dental Office, a Dentist in Ventura. Our experienced and skilled team of dental professionals provides top-quality care and services to help you achieve and maintain optimum oral health.

We offer a comprehensive range of dental services, including preventive care, restorative and cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, and more. We use the latest technology and equipment to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care.

We understand that everyone’s oral health needs are different, which is why we offer to Customize treatment plans to meet your individual needs and goals. Whether you’re looking for a simple cleaning or a complete smile makeover, we can help.

Our friendly and caring staff will make you feel right at home from the moment you walk through our door. We’re dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and we’ll work with you to ensure that you’re completely satisfied with your experience at Ventura Dentist. We welcome you to come to see us soon!


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