Is My Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?

May 23, 2024

The pain of a toothache can be overwhelming. But does a toothache mean you need dental emergency services? Read on to learn more.

There is no doubt that toothaches are painful. Whether you have a dull and constant ache, throbbing pain, severe pain, or annoying tooth sensitivity, it’s never a good thing. But is a toothache a dental emergency? 

Not necessarily, says our highly experienced team of dentists at Mowry Dental in Fremont, California. In this blog, we explore tooth pain and when it needs emergency dental care

Dental emergency versus uncomfortable and inconvenient

Each year, Americans make about 2 million visits to hospital emergency departments for dental pain. Knowing a true dental emergency can be challenging when it comes to toothaches and dental mishaps like damaged or lost veneers, fillings, or broken dental appliances. 

A good rule of thumb for dental emergencies is to focus on scenarios such as mouth, jaw, or tooth damage due to trauma, bleeding, or circumstances that may threaten the health of your teeth. 

Toothaches aren’t always dental emergencies 

Tooth pain can result from a wide range of issues, from tooth sensitivity to severe tooth pain, but not all toothaches are dental emergencies. Emergency toothaches include severe tooth pain with other significant symptoms or lingering pain. Here are some other examples of toothaches that are dental emergencies: 

Fever, earaches, or inflammation

A severe toothache accompanied by a fever, earache, or swelling may indicate an infection. Fevers indicate your immune system is battling against germs or disease. Similarly, swelling may mean your immune system is trying to clear an infection. Sometimes, pain from an infected tooth or tooth decay feels like an earache.  

Tooth pain that lingers for two or more days

Duration is another good indicator of a toothache being something more serious. If your toothache becomes more painful and lasts longer than a couple of days. That is especially true if there is no apparent cause or if it isn’t due to recent restorative work or dental surgery. 

Knocked out or broken tooth

A common dental emergency is a knocked-out tooth. It can result from sports injuries, car accidents, or trips and falls. Do everything possible to keep the tooth viable so it can be reinserted. Contact our team immediately. 

Gently clean the tooth, but do so without touching the tooth root. If the tooth is completely knocked out, try to reinsert it in its socket. Keep it in place by gently biting down on a clean tissue, cloth, or gauze. If you can’t put it back in its socket, keep it viable by placing it in a small container of milk or inside your mouth by holding the tooth between your cheek and gums.

Mouth or jaw trauma

Trauma may result in bleeding and lacerations to your mouth or jaw. Control any bleeding while in transit to our office. Even if the bleeding stops, continue to our office so we can perform a thorough examination to assess the damage. 

Tooth abscess

The telltale sign of a tooth abscess is a throbbing and persistent toothache. Besides a severe toothache, a tooth abscess may also include other symptoms like tooth sensitivity, swelling, or a fever. 

Untreated dental infections can be dangerous, so seek care immediately. An infection from an abscessed tooth may spread to your neck, jaw, and head. In some cases, these infections can spread throughout your body, causing a life-threatening condition known as sepsis.  

Our experienced dental team at Mowry Dental provides same-day emergency dental care for urgent dental issues. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call Mowry Dental at 510-794-7900 immediately. You can also book an appointment online. 

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