Toothache pain: Behavioral impact and self-care strategies

Leonard A. Cohen, Arthur J. Bonito, Donald R. Akin, Richard J. Manski, Mark D. Macek, Robert R. Edwards, Llewellyn J. Cornelius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A computer-assisted telephone interview in Maryland of adults who had low income and were Hispanic, Black, and White and who had experienced a toothache during the previous 12 months was conducted. Respondents reported a high prevalence of toothaches, with 44.3% having experienced more than five toothaches during the preceding 10 years. Pain intensity associated with the most recent toothache was high with 45.1% of the respondents reporting the highest pain possible. Pain interfered with many aspects of normal functioning. Self-care strategies generally took precedence over professional health services. Pain sufferers used a combination of self-care and formal care strategies. Initial strategies most often focused on nonprescription medicines(home remedies and prayer. The majority of respondents ultimately sought pain relief from a dentist. We identified a number of significant differences in the strategies used across racial(ethnic groups.


  • Behavioral impact
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Self- care
  • Toothache pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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