You’re relaxing at home when you suddenly feel significant pain in one of your teeth. Do you need to call the dentist immediately? Or can you simply wait for it to subside? Sometimes it can be hard to tell for sure whether tooth pain is truly urgent or not, but if it is, you can’t afford to wait too long to call your emergency dentist for help. Here’s what you need to know to decide whether or not your toothache requires emergency attention.
What Causes Tooth Pain?
The first thing you need to realize is that there’s not just one possible cause of tooth pain. It could be the result of any number of oral health problems, including:
- Physical trauma, such as a blow to the face
- Arthritis of the jaw
- Untreated infection in a specific tooth
- Repeated grinding or clenching of the teeth
- A cavity that wasn’t addressed quickly
- Sinus infection
- Impacted wisdom teeth
All of these issues require professional care. Even if you don’t think you need treatment right away, you should still call a dentist as soon as possible so you can have the problem properly diagnosed.
When is Tooth Pain an Emergency?
A toothache is an emergency if it lasts for more than one or two days or if the pain has become severe. These symptoms usually mean you have an advanced cavity or tooth infection, and such problems will only get worse if they’re left alone for too long. The sooner you get treatment, the more likely you are to be able to save the tooth in question.
Tooth pain should also be considered an emergency if it’s linked to any visible dental damage, such as a cracked tooth. Broken enamel can’t heal on its own and can leave the tooth vulnerable to infection, so it needs to be repaired as quickly as possible.
What to Do If You Have Tooth Pain
Your first step should always be to call the dentist and explain your symptoms. They’ll be able to help you figure out whether you need emergency care, and they can also give you first aid tips so that you can prevent the problem from getting any worse.
While you’re waiting for your appointment, you can control tooth pain at home by:
- Holding a cold pack over the area where the pain is located.
- Rinsing your mouth with salt water regularly.
- Using over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce your discomfort.
The answer to “Is a toothache a dental emergency?” isn’t always yes, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your oral health. Make sure you have your dentist’s phone number on hand at all times so that you can always make an appointment right away if you need to.
About the Practice
At Kraft & Schrott Dental Associates, an entire team of dental specialists combines their talents to help Boston patients achieve their smile goals. We can often schedule same-day emergency appointments for patients with toothaches and other urgent oral health issues so that they can get the relief they need as soon as possible. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with us, visit our website or call (617) 227-4924.