Is My Toothache Considered an Emergency?

Pain is your body’s way of getting your attention and letting you know that something is wrong. A toothache may not necessarily be considered a dental emergency, depending on the cause, severity, and duration, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. 

A toothache can be a sign of a serious oral health problem like an advanced cavity or an infection, which you should have a dentist look at as soon as possible.

At Arden Dental Group, our team of dentists and specialists offer emergency dentistry services at our office in the greater Asheville, North Carolina, area.

When is a toothache a dental emergency?

Trauma from an accident, fall, or sports injury is a common cause of dental emergencies. When a tooth is partially or fully knocked out or broken, get to a dentist as soon as possible (within 30 minutes to an hour) to increase your chances that we can save the tooth.

Even if your tooth doesn’t look damaged, trauma still may have caused damage. Even a small crack or fracture allows bacteria to make its way inside a tooth and infect the pulp (soft tissue inside each tooth). 

If you’re not sure whether you need to see a dentist after a contact injury, give us a call. We’ll let you know whether you need to schedule an appointment.

Signs your toothache needs immediate attention

A moderate to severe toothache for more than a day or two warrants an emergency dental appointment. Waiting can lead to serious oral and even general health problems if you have an infection.

In addition to tooth pain and trauma, other signs that you need an emergency dental appointment include:

  • A loose tooth
  • Inflammation or swelling
  • An abscess 
  • A fever
  • A laceration of the gums, cheek, or tongue
  • Sores or bumps that don’t heal
  • A damaged filling or crown
  • Secondary symptoms like fever and nausea

Dental emergencies can also happen in rare cases after a routine procedure like an extraction, where there may be excessive bleeding or dry socket. If you have any concerns or pain and other symptoms after a dental procedure, call us right away. 

Can dental emergencies be prevented?

While you can’t predict or prevent every dental emergency, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of toothaches and dental emergencies. To prevent oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease:

  • Brush after meals and floss at least once per day
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Don’t smoke
  • Stay hydrated and drink enough water
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
  • Schedule a dental exam and cleaning every six months

It’s never too late to get your oral health back on track, so don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions or concerns.

Prevention is your best defense against some types of dental emergencies. For more information about emergency dentistry services and when to schedule an appointment, contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.