Is My Toothache a Dental Emergency?

Your tooth starts hurting, and you wonder if you can power through or if it’s something to be concerned about. Could it even be considered a dental emergency?

We wish we had a simple answer to this question, but since toothaches can develop for many reasons, in this case, a simple “yes” or “no” just doesn’t suffice.

The expert team at Expressions in Dentistry offers emergency dental care when you need it most, which is reassuring since we never know when a dental issue might arise that needs attention right away. But in terms of a toothache specifically, how do you know if your need to see a dental expert is immediate?

A toothache has many possible causes

The keys to determining whether your toothache should be considered an emergency are the severity of your pain and what other symptoms might be accompanying your toothache.

For example, you may notice pain after you’ve downed a bowl of popcorn while binging your favorite series. In this case, it might just be an errant husk that gets stuck in your teeth and is irritating a tooth and the surrounding gum area. A good brushing and flossing should solve the problem – voila

Or you may really be experiencing temporary sensitivity that occurs if you’re drinking a cold beverage or licking on an ice cream cone. 

There are other instances when your toothache should be considered a dental emergency, and you should get treated promptly.

When your toothache means you need emergency care

The red flags that signal a toothache emergency situation are alarming additional symptoms, some of which may indicate that an infection is present, like:

Additionally, if your toothache doesn’t go away after two days, book an appointment with us right away. This may mean that decay is present and progressing.

One of the most serious situations that can develop if you don’t get evaluated quickly for a bad toothache is a dental abscess, which is a pus-filled lump that doesn't resolve on its own. 

Of course, traumatic injuries to your tooth can also cause breakage or cracking and lead to a severe toothache, as can losing a dental restoration like a filling or crown. In any of these instances, it’s critical to call us immediately so that you can get treated as soon as possible. 

Again, your symptoms and the degree of pain you’re experiencing should guide your decision about whether it’s necessary to get emergency dental care. Remember, we’re here and ready to treat you if you do end up needing it.

Call our Folsom office at 916-983-6767 to schedule an emergency appointment. We have a convenient online booking tool you can use, but in the case of an emergency, it’s best to reach us directly to arrange for urgent care.

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