According to the American Dental Association, “Dental emergencies are potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection…” When you’re in a significant amount of pain, it’s hard to think rationally – you may find yourself wondering, “Is a toothache considered a dental emergency?” The answer is…it depends.
The conditions surrounding a toothache determine whether or not it’s an emergency. Factors to consider include:
How long have you had the toothache?
If you’ve been in pain for a day or two, it’s time to call your dentist – it’s an emergency. A persistent toothache can be a sign of a serious underlying problem that needs to be addressed immediately before further damage is caused.
How severe is the pain?
Are you experiencing a dull, yet bearable, ache? Or is it a sharp, intense pain that throbs or stabs? Pain that is no longer bearable or that prevents you from carrying out the necessary and most basic functions of life indicates an emergency – make an appointment with your dentist immediately.
Do you have a strange taste or odor in your mouth?
Weird tastes or smells in your mouth could be an indication of decay or infection that needs to be treated immediately. Infection in the teeth and gums can quickly spread to the rest of the body and cause serious health problems.
Is there swelling around your jaw or face?
Swelling in the jaw or face can mean there is an infection that’s spreading. Infections that spread to the brain or bloodstream can be life-threatening, so it’s absolutely vital that you seek help immediately if your toothache is accompanied by these symptoms.
Are your gums bleeding?
If there is blood coming from your gums, call your dentist immediately. It can be a symptom of disease when gums are bleeding alongside a severe toothache, so early detection and treatment are important.
Does it hurt when pressure is applied to the tooth?
A severe cavity or structural damage to a filling or the tooth itself can cause a lot of pain when pressure is applied to a tooth. A dentist will need to perform a full evaluation as soon as possible to determine what needs to be done to repair and resolve the problem.
A dental emergency can be an especially traumatic experience. As in any emergency, it’s important to know who to call and where to go for help. Even now, be sure you’re prepared in the event that you face a dental trauma that requires immediate attention – establish yourself as a patient of a dentist that offers emergency dental care. If the day comes that you need emergency care, you’ll be glad to be in the hands of a dentist that you know and that knows you. Call Coral West Dental today if you are located in the Coralville, Iowa area to be prepared for any dental emergency that may come your way.