A toothache is simply defined as pain in or around a tooth. It can range from bearable to excruciating. It also has a variety of causes; some are relatively minor while others are serious. A toothache should always be treated, as it will just get worse if you try to ignore it. The question, however, is when should you just schedule a dental appointment and when should you get emergency or same-day dental care?
What Causes Toothaches?
Common causes of toothaches include the following: cavities, impacted tooth, cracked tooth, gum disease, dental abscess or infection. Other conditions that can cause toothache include sinus trouble, TMJ disorder, and heart disease. A patient with a history of heart problems should call their doctor if they have any pain in their jaw or tooth, particularly if it is accompanied by other symptoms of a heart attack, such as light-headedness.
When Should Somebody Go To The Emergency Dentist?
Some of the above conditions will require emergency treatment. A tooth abscess is one such condition. It is a bacterial infection that can spread to other parts of the body.
A dental abscess can cause severe and throbbing pain that can spread to the ear, jawbone, or neck. It can also cause sensitivity to both pressure and temperature; the former means chewing or biting will be painful. A dental abscess can also cause swelling in the jaw or face. A ruptured abscess is accompanied by a burst of foul-smelling and foul-tasting liquid. Other symptoms of a dental abscess include fever and trouble swallowing or breathing.
Gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss. The early stage, gingivitis, is confined to the gums and is easily treated. In periodontitis, the bacterial infection has spread to other parts of the mouth. Swollen gums that bleed easily appear early on. If the patient doesn’t get treatment, they develop other symptoms including pain in their teeth and gums, persistent bad breath, pus between the gums and teeth, loose teeth, and changes in the way the teeth fit together when biting.
A cracked tooth accompanied by pain is also a dental emergency. In many cases, both the outside and the inside of the tooth have been damaged. The dentist will need to take an X-ray of the tooth to determine if they can save it.
If you still aren’t sure if your toothache is a dental emergency, contact your dentist for their advice. They will tell you if you need same-day dental treatment.
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Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based out of Boston, Mass. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.