When Is Tooth Pain Considered a Dental Emergency?

August 20, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — dentalcosmeticsolution @ 5:16 pm
man with a toothache holding his cheek in pain

Have you been dealing with a nagging toothache that just doesn’t seem to go away? Maybe you’re considering calling your dentist, but you’re not sure whether it’s necessary. Does tooth pain always indicate a dental emergency? Or can you wait until your next checkup to bring it up with your dentist? Keep reading to find out when tooth pain qualifies as an emergency – and what could happen if you avoid seeking the treatment you need.

Is My Toothache a Dental Emergency?

Any dentist will tell you that no amount of tooth pain is normal. After all, pain is your body’s way of signaling that something is wrong. If you have a toothache, it’s best to let your dentist know as soon as you can so that they can determine the cause of the problem and treat it promptly.

While you should always call your dentist if your tooth is hurting, some toothaches are more urgent than others. For example, you can usually wait a couple of days for an appointment if your tooth pain is mild and can be easily managed at home. However, you need to schedule an emergency dental appointment right away if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Intense, persistent pain – If your toothache is excruciating and isn’t soothed by over-the-counter pain medications, contact your dentist.
  • Pain when biting down – Sharp pain when something touches your tooth could mean you have a severe cavity or a damaged restoration, both of which require urgent treatment.
  • Swollen jaw – If your tooth pain is accompanied by swelling around your jaw or neck, it may be the result of an infection that has begun spreading to other areas of your body. Without immediate care, this issue could become life-threatening.

What Happens If I Ignore My Toothache?

Cavities and tooth infections are barely noticeable in their early stages. Without treatment, though, the decay or damage eventually penetrates the surface of the tooth and reaches the nerve-filled pulp in the center. At this point, you’ll likely experience incredibly severe pain. If the problem still isn’t addressed, the nerves in the tooth may die, causing the pain to disappear. However, the tooth will need to be extracted in order to prevent the infection or decay from spreading to your other teeth.

Tips for Relieving Tooth Pain

Until you reach your emergency dentist’s office, here are some tips to manage your toothache:

  • Press a cold compress to the outside of your cheek. Hold it there for 10 minutes and then remove it for at least 10 minutes before using it again.
  • Rinse with warm saltwater every few hours.
  • Gently floss to remove any trapped food particles that may be stuck between your teeth.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed, but don’t hold it directly to the hurting area, as it could irritate your gums.

Determining whether your toothache is a dental emergency can be challenging. If you’re still unsure, call your dentist anyway. After all, when it comes to your smile, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

About the Author

Dr. Vladimir Pastouk graduated from the Kiev Medical University School of Dentistry in Ukraine in 1991. After moving to the United States, he completed The Advanced Standing Program at the Nova Southeastern University College of Dentistry in Florida. Every member of his team at Dental & Cosmetic Solutions is dedicated to providing immediate assistance to those experiencing toothaches and other dental emergencies. If you’re looking for toothache relief, contact Dr. Pastouk at (216) 292-3600.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.