When Is a Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?

Aug 02, 2023
When Is a Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?
Toothaches are very common, and while it might be tempting to ignore them or see if they’ll go away on their own, there are times when emergency care is essential. Here’s how to decide if your toothache needs emergency treatment.

Nearly half of Americans have tooth pain in any given year, according to the CDC, due to cavities, trauma, gum disease, or other issues. While some minor tooth pain may clear up on its own or with a little help from you, other types of pain can be associated with a more serious issue that needs emergency treatment.

As top-ranked dentists in Upland, California, Prashant Amin, DDS, and Valay Desai, DDS, provide skilled care for tooth pain at DNTL Studio in Upland, California, including emergency treatment aimed at relieving pain and preventing further damage. In this post, learn when tooth pain requires an emergency visit.

Severe or prolonged pain

Some tooth pain is mild and temporary, like the pain associated with a popcorn kernel that’s lodged between your teeth. A little careful flossing removes the kernel and relieves your discomfort. 

But if you have prolonged pain or pain that’s severe, it’s always a sign that you need emergency care. You should also seek care if your pain is bad enough to interfere with your regular activities, like eating or sleeping.

Pain that’s getting worse

Likewise, if you have tooth pain that’s getting worse over time, it’s another sign that it’s time to call our office. Worsening pain could mean you have an infection that’s spreading or another problem that’s gradually becoming more severe — and more complicated to treat.

Pain associated with biting or chewing

Deep cavities, abscesses, and infections frequently cause significant pain when pressure is applied to your tooth, and that includes the pressure associated with chewing and biting. It might be tempting to simply chew on the other side of your mouth, but ignoring this symptom can allow the underlying problem to become a lot worse.

Pain accompanied by swelling or bleeding

If you have swelling in your gums, jaw, or face accompanied by tooth pain, that’s another reason to seek emergency dental care right away. 

Swelling typically accompanies an infection that can spread and lead to serious complications if not treated right away. If your tooth pain is accompanied by bleeding, that’s an indication that you may have an infection or other serious problem requiring immediate care.

Pain following an injury

If you develop tooth pain after any type of injury involving your mouth or head, it’s definitely time to seek emergency care, especially if the injury damaged a tooth, your gums, or other soft tissues. 

In these instances, immediate care can mean the difference between saving your tooth and needing to have it extracted. You should also call our office if you have continuing or worsening pain or pain accompanied by a fever following dental surgery.

Pain accompanied by fever

Fever is your body’s way of trying to fight off infection by overheating invading germs. If you have a fever along with tooth pain, that could mean you have an infection in your tooth or the bone or soft tissues supporting it.

Infections in your teeth and gums can spread to other areas of your body, creating a serious medical problem. Emergency treatment helps stop the infection and destroy dangerous germs before complications occur.

Never ignore tooth pain

Tooth pain is never normal, and even a minor toothache can be a sign of a serious problem. To be safe, it’s always a good idea to call our office if you’re having tooth or gum pain so we can help you decide what steps to take next. 

To find out what’s causing your tooth pain and how we can help, call DNTL Studio or book an appointment online today.