Is My Toothache Considered an Emergency?

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Toothaches are common sources of pain and irritation, but how do you know if your toothache warrants a trip to an emergency dentist? Learn more about sources of tooth pain and when professional dental care is necessary.

A troublesome toothache demands your attention and makes it hard to focus on anything else. Your first response is likely some form of over-the-counter or home remedy to relieve the pain and irritation. But what happens when a toothache persists? How long should you wait before seeing an emergency dentist? What if your toothache is signaling some underlying issue that needs professional care? 

Pain is always an indicator that something is amiss; never ignore persistent dental pain. Prathima Rasamsetty, DDS, is a skilled emergency dentist in San Antonio, Texas; she and her team at Preva Dental can examine your tooth and determine the cause of your pain. Then, she will create a treatment strategy to restore your oral health and relieve the discomfort. 

Common reasons for dental pain

As with all types of pain, dental pain is meant to get your attention and let you know something is wrong. Waiting too long can allow a budding dental issue to become even more serious. Some of the more common reasons for dental pain include the following. 

Dental decay

A tooth infection or abscess underneath or along the side of a tooth root can cause pain. The infection causes pain because it has reached the nerves of the tooth. This takes time, so the infection or decay has been growing for some time and can erode your bone structure. 

Infections can also make their way into your bloodstream and cause serious health problems, including diabetes, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

When decay is the culprit, the level of pain often indicates the seriousness of the infection. Severe pain means a serious infection. There is likely a gateway for the infection to reach the tooth nerves and roots, such as a loose filling, cracked tooth, runaway cavity, or other form of decay. 

Sensitive teeth

Some people may experience tooth sensitivity that is often triggered by hot or cold, like food or beverages. Taking a bite or sip can trigger a flash of pain. When this condition occurs and has never happened before, or suddenly worsens, it could be due to other dental problems. The team at Preva Dental can investigate and propose a solution. 

How can I prevent tooth pain?

Prevention is always the best medicine, and preventing tooth pain starts with routine home oral care. Our dental care team can show you how to brush and floss properly, so that your practice of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day is more effective. 

You should also see us at least twice per year for routine dental cleanings and exams. This prevents the buildup of plaque and tartar and allows us to catch small oral issues early to prevent larger problems, many of which can cause pain. 

When should you consider a toothache as a dental emergency? If your tooth pain persists for more than a day or two with home remedies or OTC medication, call Preva Dental at 210-791-7826 and share your problem with a team member. We will provide immediate instructions for self-care and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You can also book an appointment online