People who don't think toothaches are a health issue haven't read much about them. I was one of them. I had no idea that a toothache could lead to abscess which could lead to an infection entering the brain and causing multiple problems up to and including death. Quite the wake-up call, I have to say.
My tooth began aching Friday night (on the weekend, of course). By Sunday, it was showing no signs of diminishing and I felt like the right side of my face was swollen. When I looked in the mirror, I could see it, but when I put my hands on my face, I could feel it. And, it was so tender to the touch. Any movement of my mouth and tongue practically made the top of my head explode. No pain I've experienced before matched this.
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, so after making my promised appearance at my friend's Tupperware party, I drove myself to the ER where I was examined by one of the ER physicians who diagnosed an abscess. When he told me to open my mouth so he could examine my tooth, I almost cried. I literally had to pull my chin down to make my mouth open wider for him to examine me. Holy cow, I was in pain.
While I was there, they gave me a shot for pain and a double dose of antibiotics to kick start healing. I also left with two prescriptions for the same. I only filled the antibiotic because I have no insurance and couldn't afford to pay full price for two prescriptions. But, the nurse had advised that I could get an OTC pain reliever and take the prescription dose of that as needed and that's what I did. I feel much better now.
My jaw still hurts and I still have limited movement (even eating a banana was hard to do!), but can finally chew things without wishing someone would punch my jaw and knock me (and my tooth) out. It was a seriously painful thing that I never EVER want to experience again.
So, I'd like to say to all, please don't ignore your teeth! They don't just make it easier to swallow and digest foods, but they also can transmit infection directly to your brain if they are not treated properly. I'm still enjoying the headache that this brought with it, but it's not as bad as it was the first couple of days. I don't wish this on anyone!