Toothaches can be a significant pain for many people. In most cases, a toothache can feel annoying, but for others, it can be incapacitating. When does a toothache go from an inconvenience to a medical emergency? This article will discuss potential factors to help you determine when you should see the dentist about your tooth pain.

Toothaches and Pain

The severity and frequency of pain from your toothaches can be a determining factor as to whether you should call the dentist. Is the pain constant or does it pop up randomly? Is the pain sharp or dull? The pain may be triggered by eating something cold, or chewing something hard. Tooth sensitivity during brushing or flossing can also be problematic. Generally, if the pain doesn’t go away after a few days, or if the pain is severe, you may want to consult your dentist.

Gum Sensitivity

Your gums may actually be the source of pain. Gum inflammation or sensitivity can also be a source of pain. This can often be a sign of gum disease. If your gums are red, swollen, sore, or bloody, consider consulting your dentist.

Loosened Teeth

Once your permanent teeth come in, you shouldn’t be losing them anymore. Your teeth should not normally feel loose. If they do, it could be a sign of damage, trauma, or advanced gum disease. Infections in the gums can cause them to recede, loosening the hold on a tooth. If a tooth loses too much support, it can get loose or fall out. Generally, if you are experiencing pain and looseness of a permanent tooth, you should see your dentist.

Toothaches and Fevers

If your toothache is severe enough, you may also experience fever symptoms. Fevers that accompany toothaches are often caused by an abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus in a tooth caused by an infection. Other symptoms may include swollen gums, difficulty swallowing, and trouble chewing. If you are experiencing fever symptoms and issues with breathing or swallowing as a result of a toothache, contact your dentist’s office.

Toothaches and Medical Emergencies

Sometimes, toothaches can be a sign of a serious medical emergency. You should consider going to the ER for your toothache if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Swelling below the eye
  • A knot on your jaw
  • Unbearable pain that doesn’t subside with medication
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop with applied pressure
  • A fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit

Communication With Your Dentist

Toothaches, whether as a result of trauma or infection, can constitute a medical emergency. While some tooth pain will go away with time, severe or reoccurring toothaches are likely an indicator of a dental issue. Be sure to inform your dentist about any toothaches you experience, and their frequency. Overall, open communication about your dental issues will help your dentist give you the best possible care.

A Center for Dental Excellence does not provide medical or healthcare advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
A Center for Dental Excellence provides expert dental care to the Brooklyn and Staten Island communities we serve. To schedule an appointment or consultation, contact us or call the office you would like to visit. (718) 232-8289 for Brooklyn, and (718) 980-9555 for Staten Island.