Toothache—Is It An Emergency or Can It Wait For An Appointment?

Toothache—Is It An Emergency or Can It Wait For An Appointment?

October 17, 2021

A sharp pinch when biting down, a dull ache after drinking a cold liquid, or a throbbing sensation after chewing gum are all warning signals that anyone who ever experienced tooth discomfort understands. When should dental pain be taken seriously enough to require an appointment or emergency dental treatment?

What is a Toothache?

A toothache is a painful, throbbing, or aching sensation resulting from an infection in the mouth or gum disease.

A toothache is one of the most common dental emergencies faced by people of all ages.

What Cause Toothache?

Toothache usually happens when a tooth is exposed to significant pressure or trauma, usually in the form of a sharp or hot object. This causes pain and irritation around the tooth and jaw area, leading to swelling or exposure to bacteria.

Toothache causes include:

  • Worn out teeth. When teeth are worn out by chewing on something hard, the root gets exposed. The exposed root can get infected or irritated by bacteria, leading to swelling and pain around the jaw and teeth.
  • Tooth decay. Bacteria can also thrive in poorly cleaned areas if you don’t brush your teeth adequately each day, exposing your teeth and gums to disease-causing bacteria that lead to decay and pain.
  • Impacted teeth. Impacted teeth are very painful and destructive to teeth. They can cause severe damage affecting your quality of life. It can also lead to decay and teeth alignment issues. Stopping any further damage caused by impacted teeth can help relieve the pain and get your life back on track.
  • Chipped or broken teeth. Pain from chipped and broken teeth is common in children and adults alike. The most noticeable effects are on your oral hygiene and eating habits, but many people also experience pain and discomfort. There are many different reasons for chipped teeth. One of the most common is a tooth being hit by a hard surface. Another reason for a broken tooth is a fall.

When is Toothache a Dental Emergency?

Toothaches can lead to tooth damage if it goes untreated. However, when is a toothache an emergency?

The CDC recommends treating dental emergencies within 24 hours of their onset. The severity of the pain, the extent of the damage, and your overall health factor into how long you should wait before seeking professional assistance.

If you are experiencing severe, throbbing pain for over 12 hours if your teeth are bleeding, or have fever/chills, visit your dentist immediately. If you’re not sure what to do in an emergency, get in touch with your dentist’s office right away!

Tips for Tooth Pain Relief?

How you handle the emergency will determine the success of your treatment. Here are a few tips:

  • Get treatment immediately for tooth pain or swelling.
  • Maintain proper dental hygiene.
  • Take medication as prescribed by your dentist.
  • Avoid popping or clicking noises that may aggravate the toothache.
  • Apply ice packs wrapped in a towel against the cheek of your painful tooth for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Call your dentist immediately if you have not seen improvement after one hour of ice pack use or if you experience any symptoms that may signal an emergency condition.
  • Reschedule appointments if you cannot see your dentist within 24 hours.
  • Follow up with your doctor if you have not seen improvement after 72 hours of pain management.

What Shouldn’t You Do in an Emergency Situation for a Toothache?

Many people find it necessary to perform self-dental treatment during an emergency. However, this is not recommended because it can cause more problems, like spreading the infection and worsening the pain. Instead, use cold water or ice packs on your cheekbones to reduce swelling in the region.

Take Action!

Visit our 24-hour dental clinic at Holger Dental Group for assistance if you have severe tooth pain interfering with your daily chores.

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