When Is a Toothache Considered an Emergency?

When Is a Toothache Considered an Emergency?
Toothaches can be very painful — but do you know when your symptoms necessitate emergency dental care? From severe pain to swelling to bleeding, here are the signs that your toothache might be a dental emergency.

Nearly everyone experiences tooth pain or sensitivity at some point in their life. Toothaches can have any number of causes, and their symptoms range from mild discomfort to excruciating pain.

With so many different symptoms, it's not always easy to know if your toothache is considered a dental emergency. It might be tempting to try to tough it out and avoid going to the dentist, but doing so could put you at risk of more serious complications.

As an emergency dentist in Lansdowne, Virginia, Narjes Abtahi, DDS, is here to help. She understands that a toothache is a painful and uncomfortable experience, and she offers same-day and walk-in appointments for dental emergencies at Your Community Smile.

Signs that your toothache is a dental emergency

Mild toothaches may go away on their own, or you may be able to wait for a routine dental appointment. However, there are some symptoms that could indicate your toothache is a dental emergency. Here are five signs to watch for:

1. Severe pain

Toothaches are uncomfortable, but you can alleviate many mild aches with over-the-counter painkillers. If your toothache is causing intense pain that doesn’t improve with medication, it's a sign that you need to see the dentist. A variety of issues can cause severe pain — such as an abscess or infection — and these conditions can be dangerous if left untreated.

2. Swelling

If you notice swelling in your gums, face, or neck along with your toothache, it could be a sign of infection. Severe swelling can even make it difficult to breathe or swallow. Tooth infections can spread quickly, too, so it's important to seek immediate dental care.

3. Sensitivity to hot and cold

Sudden sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures could be a sign of tooth damage, like a deep cavity or crack. A cracked tooth can also be very painful when biting or chewing, and it's a dental emergency that needs to be addressed promptly.

4. Bleeding or discharge

Bleeding, pus, or other types of discharge around your aching tooth could be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, like an abscess, infection, or even oral cancer. If you notice any bleeding or discharge from the affected area, it’s important to seek professional care right away to prevent further complications.

5. Foul taste or odor

A toothache that comes with a foul taste or odor could be a sign of an infection, abscess, or impacted tooth. These conditions can cause serious complications if you don’t get prompt treatment, and they’re all considered dental emergencies.

What to do if you’re having a dental emergency

If you’re experiencing severe pain or discomfort in your mouth, seek emergency dental care right away. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to dental emergencies because the problem can develop serious complications and even be life-threatening in some cases.

Dr. Abtahi and our team evaluate your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and start treatment to relieve your toothache and help you avoid those complications. We may recommend treatments such as a root canal for infections, dental fillings, or dental crowns

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether your toothache is a dental emergency is to consult with a dental professional. Seeking prompt care helps ensure that you receive the treatment you need to feel better.

Are you worried about an aching tooth? Call 703-565-2667 to book the next available appointment at Your Community Smile today.

Review rating 4.96875/5
Total reviews 32