Dr Segun Adewolu, a Dental Surgeon from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin-city, Edo state sheds light on the causes, and treatment of toothache plus other dental issues.

Please read the excerpts below…

Nigerian Health Blog: Goodevening Sir. Thank you for granting us this very important interview and for honouring our schedule.

DR Segun: It is my pleasure.

Nigerian Health Blog: Sir, can you tell us more about the common dental complaints in your clinic?

Dr Segun: Most of the patients that visit our clinic comes with toothache or tooth pain. You see many adults crying because of this common symptom. Toothache though very common is just one of the symptoms of tooth decay, fractured (cracked tooth syndrome), infected gums, and damaged fillings. Other symptoms associated with toothache include swelling around the tooth, fever, headache, and foul tasting discharge.

Nigerian Health Blog: What are the causes of toothache or dental pain in our environment.

Dr Segun: The common causes of toothache or tooth pain in our environment are numerous but dental caries(tooth decay) is the commonest in Nigeria and globally. Other causes of toothache include fractured tooth or cracked tooth syndrome, infected gums (gingivitis and periodontitis), damaged tooth filling, pain during tooth eruption, grinding teeth (bruxism). Sometimes tooth pain can be referred to the ear causing earache.

Nigerian Health Blog: But some people say toothache and tooth symptoms are caused by worms. What do you have to say about this?

Dr Segun: Mouth or the oral cavity is the gateway to our body and there are numerous microorganism (bacteria) hence they are referred to as the normal flora of the oral cavity. Imbalance in the normal oral flora, nature of our diet (sugary foods), susceptible tooth surface with time contributes to the initiation of tooth decay. So worms are not the cause of toothache or tooth decay. People that treat your toothache or dental problems by removing worms from your mouth are scammers and you should stop patronizing them.

Nigerian Health Blog: What is the treatment for toothache?

Dr Segun: As dentists we don’t treat symptoms but we treat cause. Persons whose toothache are treated symptomatically may get immediate relieve but end up coming back later with similar complaints. We normally obtain a comprehensive history, examine the mouth and affected tooth and do some basic investigations like an X-ray. We also make sure you are not diabetic or hypertensive, and if you are, it most be controlled.

The cause of the toothache is identified and definitive treatment is given based on the cause of which there are treatment options like tooth filling, root canal therapy (RCT), and possibly tooth extraction. Analgesics, antipyretics and antibiotics are given as supportive therapy or medications for toothache.

Nigerian Health Blog: Does petrol cure toothache?

Dr Segun: No! Don’t try it! Petrol even cause chemical burns to the oral mucosa causing you more problems. If it gets into the pulp cavity, petrol can cause acute apical periodontitis. The herbal mixture called “touch-and-go” have similar hazardous effect as petrol.

Nigerian Health Blog: How can toothache be prevented?

Dr Segun: Most of the patients we see with toothache is as a result of tooth decay. Good oral hygiene practices which include brushing twice daily with flouride containing toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, consulting the dentist twice a year for dental checkup and professional cleaning of teeth. In addition, low sugar containing diet and pits and fissure sealant application are also important for prevention of tooth decay. Avoid opening bottle cocks with the teeth to prevent fracture.

Nigerian Health Blog: Thank you Sir for your time.

Dr Segun: You are welcome.

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