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Is a Toothache a Dental Emergency?

May 7, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — stansbury @ 4:03 pm
man with tooth pain holding his cheek

People often experience tooth pain from time to time. If you’re like most people, you might take an over-the-counter pain reliever and forget about your toothache as soon as it subsides. After all, it will probably get better on its own, right? On the contrary, tooth problems rarely go away until you visit your dentist for treatment. Ignoring tooth pain can lead to not only oral health complications, but higher dental bills later on. For these reasons and more, it’s important to consider the following the next time you ask yourself, “Is a toothache a dental emergency?”

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Tooth Pain

A toothache can develop for a variety of reasons, some of which are more obvious than others. For example, an injury to the face can crack or chip a tooth, giving bacteria the chance to reach the sensitive inner chamber of the tooth (called the pulp).

In other cases, decay might gradually erode a tooth’s enamel without your even realizing it until the tooth’s nerves have become infected or damaged. Severe, if not irreversible, damage has already been done by this point.

It’s worth noting that unlike most of the body, teeth cannot repair themselves. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to contact an emergency dentist at the first sign of a toothache. 

What to Do When You Notice Tooth Pain

Call your dentist as soon as you can; if you call early enough, they can likely schedule an appointment for you later that same day. Until then, most dentists would recommend that you:

  • Floss – This will rule out the possibility that your toothache is caused by a piece of food or some other object trapped between your teeth.
  • Use cold compresses – Apply one to your cheek for ten minutes on, then remove it for ten minutes. Repeat this process for up to an hour.
  • Rinse – Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt into an eight-ounce glass of warm water. Rinse with this solution several times a day.
  • Take pain medication – Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen, as needed.

How Your Emergency Dentist Can Help

Dentists can not only identify the root cause of your toothache, but also create a treatment plan designed to relieve your pain as soon as possible. They can also let you know if you have any habits, such as teeth grinding, that contribute to dental problems. By seeing your dentist right away, they can often perform a treatment to save the tooth from requiring a more expensive and invasive procedure down the road.

In general, you should never assume that tooth pain will disappear on its own. It’s better to be safe than sorry – that’s why you should always give your dentist a call when you notice discomfort. Schedule an emergency appointment right away to prevent the issue from worsening!

About the Author

As an emergency dentist in Tyler, TX, Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury is always ready to provide top-notch, same-day care for patients with tooth pain. He has more than 40 years of experience in the dental field and has even earned a Fellowship with the American College of Dentists. If you’re looking for relief for your tooth pain, contact Dr. Stansbury through his  website or by phone at (903) 561-1122.

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