Is a Toothache a Dental Emergency?
July 3, 2022
Is a toothache keeping you awake at night? It might be time to see an emergency dentist. Contrary to common belief, occasional tooth pain isn’t normal. It often indicates there’s a serious problem brewing in your mouth, but is a toothache a dental emergency? Yes! You don’t want to try to wait out the pain because it probably won’t go away without any treatment. Not to mention, you might end up losing your tooth. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore dental pain.
Possible Causes of Tooth Pain
No matter the severity of your discomfort, any tooth pain is a sign you need to see a dentist. Even minor sensitivity can be caused by a serious problem, like decay. More significant discomfort can be the result of a big problem, like an infection deep within your tooth. If you don’t get the treatment you need, the issue can progress until your dentist can no longer save your tooth.
Your emergency dentist will address your pain and examine your mouth to find the source of your discomfort, which can include:
- Blow or hit on the tooth
- Arthritis of the jaw
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Tooth decay
- Sinus infection
- Impacted wisdom tooth
- Break or fracture
- Gum recession
It is best to contact your dentist right away for an appointment. In most cases, you’ll want to skip heading to a hospital for treatment because they aren’t equipped to address the underlying
cause of the problem. At most, they can prescribe antibiotics or pain relievers, while a dentist has the training and equipment to treat the source of your pain to save your tooth.
Handling a Toothache at Home
While you wait for your appointment, you can take several steps at home to manage your pain, including:
- Sleep with your pillow elevated to prevent blood from pooling in your head to avoid throbbing discomfort.
- Avoid hot, cold, acidic, or hard foods before going to bed.
- Take an OTC pain reliever to control your discomfort.
- Use a saltwater rinse to keep your mouth clean while reducing inflammation and swelling.
- Avoid chewing with your tooth until after seeing a dentist.
- Eat softer foods.
- Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth to numb the area temporarily and reduce pain and inflammation.
- Follow your oral hygiene routine.
- Don’t Wait to See Your Dentist
As with any emergency, prompt treatment is of the utmost importance. Although no one has time for an unplanned trip to their dentist, schedule an appointment right away to avoid irreversible damage to your smile. They’ll provide the quick care you need to stop your pain, so you can get back to more important matters.
About Dr. J. Lee Pettigrew
Dr. Pettigrew earned his dental degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center and has continued his education in many advanced services, including general dentistry. He is a member of various professional organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association. If you have a dental emergency, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
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