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Tooth Pain: When is it Considered a Dental Emergency?

June 9, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drwhite @ 7:59 pm
woman holding coffee cup having tooth pain

Do you have a persistent toothache? It’s an indicator that something is wrong with your teeth or gums, as no amount of pain, even mild, is normal. Seeking dental care is critical to prevent permanent damage to your oral health. But when does a toothache necessitate a same-day visit to your emergency dentist?

Continue reading to find out when it requires immediate care, what happens if you avoid seeking treatment, and tips for managing your tooth pain.

When Should I See My Emergency Dentist for Tooth Pain?

Are you able to manage your tooth pain with over-the-counter medications or home remedies? If so, you may be able to hold off until your next appointment with your dentist. However, if you’re in unbearable pain and have had no success in finding relief, you need to see an emergency dentist immediately.

Here are a few additional indicators that your tooth requires urgent care:

  • Swelling around your face or gums. This often signals a serious infection that has begun spreading to the rest of your body. If left untreated, it can have life-threatening consequences. You should schedule an emergency visit immediately.
  • Your tooth or restoration (filling, crown) is fractured. If you chipped your tooth or restoration, it needs to be repaired right away. The tooth may become sensitive, and the sharp edge can cut into your gums, tongue, or cheek.
  • A loose or fallen out tooth. This should never happen to adults and is usually the result of trauma. See your dentist as soon as possible to assess the injury, as there could be damage to the nerves or jaw.  

What Happens if I Ignore Tooth Pain?

If you’re experiencing chronic tooth pain that isn’t triggered by extreme temperatures, it could be a sign of cavities or an infection. Neglecting to seek treatment could cause it to spread to the center of the tooth, infecting the pulp and worsening the condition. At this stage, you may experience severe tooth sensitivity to the extent that even speaking could be painful.

As the decay progresses, it could eventually lead to the death of the nerve at the root. Most patients believe that since the pain went away, their bodies fixed the problem. But months or years after the nerve dies, a recurring pain will come back with a vengeance. The pain at this point would be from a fully formed dental abscess that the cavity developed into.

Tips for Managing Tooth Pain

Visit your emergency dentist immediately if you’re suffering from chronic tooth pain. In the meantime, use these tips to manage your discomfort until you reach the dental office:

  • Use a cold pack on your cheek over the area where the pain is felt.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
  • Use dental floss to gently remove any debris lodged between your teeth.
  • Use over-the-counter medication to reduce discomfort.

A toothache can result in severe consequences if left untreated. Contact your emergency dentist immediately if your pain refuses to subside. They’ll be more than happy to offer a solution that will provide you relief so you can enjoy a pain-free smile.

About the Author

Dr. Melanie White discovered her true calling in dentistry because she realized it allows her to build relationships and help others—two things she’s very passionate about. She founded Maple Grove Family Dental in 2006 and now works with a dental team dedicated to making every patient feel welcome, comfortable, and valued. Dr. White understands that life happens, as do dental emergencies. And when they do, she and the rest of her team will be right there with you to find a solution. If you need immediate care, contact us via our website or by phone at (608) 882-4860.

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