Is My Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?

Is My Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?

Your tooth is causing you considerable pain and you’re not able to function (or sleep) all that well. Seeking our help sooner rather than later in these situations is always a good idea as we can not only resolve your discomfort, we can also safeguard your teeth and gums against further problems.

At Peninsula Dental Excellence, Drs. Colin Au and Jeff Yoshihara, as well as the rest of the highly skilled dental team, routinely help clients to quickly overcome tooth pain and we can do the same for you through our emergency dentistry services.

In the following, we explore what may be behind your tooth pain and why we advise prompt intervention.

Behind the pain

If it seems like dental pain is worse than other types of pain, you’re not imagining things. The nerves housed inside the pulp inside your teeth are the most sensitive in your body and, when they’re irritated, they’re quick to send pain messaging through the trigeminal nerve in your face.

The pain itself may present itself in various ways, such as a constant throb or only when you bite down or expose the tooth to extreme temperatures. 

When it comes to toothaches, they can develop for any number of reasons, but one of the primary drivers is a bacterial infection in your pulp or an abscess in your tooth.

Another offender is tooth decay — as bacteria eat away at your tooth, they can reach (and expose) areas where dental nerves are located.

Outside of tooth decay and infections, other common causes of tooth pain include:

You may also experience what seems like a toothache if you have periodontitis (gum disease) as the proximity of the irritated nerves to your tooth is quite close.

Why seeking help for a toothache is a good idea

A more serious dental emergency is an event in which your tooth is knocked out or there’s trauma to your mouth that leads to extreme pain and bleeding. In these cases, we urge you to call us or to head to your nearest emergency room.

A toothache is generally a step down from the above, but it still requires prompt treatment. If pain relief isn’t reason enough to seek our help, consider, too, the future of your teeth. A whopping 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and these losses are largely due to untreated tooth decay and gum disease.

For example, if you have an infection, left unchecked, it can destroy your tooth and, worse, spread to your jaw and even enter your bloodstream.

As well, any time you crack or break a tooth, you’re far more susceptible to developing infection so it’s important to come see us straight away. This same holds true for broken fillings, which opens up the cavity again allowing bacteria to make their way inside again.

If you want to preserve your teeth, long into the future, we believe that coming to see us anytime you have a toothache is good practice. To get started, please contact our office in Mountain View, California, to set up an appointment.

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