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When Is a Toothache an Emergency?

If you run into a door and knock out a tooth, you know to go to a dentist with your missing tooth. When you open a plastic package with your teeth and slice your gums, you would probably go to the dentist—especially if it is bleeding uncontrollably. What do you do if you have a toothache? When should you see a dentist?

There are many types of pain you can experience in your mouth—sensitivity pain, tenderness, shooting pain, cavity pain, sharp pain, dull pain, etc. The list goes on. Pain should never be considered a regular part of your everyday life. However, some pain can wait for a regular appointment with your dentist. Although, it is essential to know when you should seek immediate medical attention. Pain can be an indicator of a serious condition that needs treatment

man in pain from toothache dental emergency dentist in Towson Maryland

Causes of Pain

Many things can cause pain, but only a few are emergent causes. For example, if you fracture a tooth, it is not necessarily a dental emergency. A cracked tooth will not cause any significant issues without immediate treatment. However, fractures can cause severe pain, which is a dental emergency. You should never sit in extreme pain without seeking medical attention. 

An infection is one of the main reasons you shouldn’t avoid seeing the dentist. You can develop an infection from a cavity, gum disease, or an impacted tooth. Essentially, some conditions that begin as mild problems can advance to significant issues. Therefore, you should take infections seriously because they can become a danger to your health. 

Without treatment, infections can advance to other teeth or areas of your gums. Additionally, infections can move to other places in your body through your bloodstream. In some cases, infections can even be deadly. If you have an infection, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

What To Look For

One of the first signs of an infection is pain. There is no one kind of pain when it comes to infections. In fact, everyone experiences pain differently. However, the pain shouldn’t persist or worsen. For example, if you have a minor cavity, you may feel slight discomfort or sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or sweet foods. The pain you feel will come and go. On the other hand, the pain from an infection won’t go away, and it will get worse over time. 

Along with pain, you may develop a fever. This is because your body is trying to fight the infections. A fever is an immune response to infection. You should contact your doctor and monitor your fever. If your fever is greater than 101 degrees, you need to get treatment. 

Another sign of an infection is swelling or redness near the infected area. You should call your dentist if the swelling doesn’t go down or worsens. Importantly, if the swelling spreads to other areas of your face, you must go to the doctor immediately. Again, it is an indication that the infection is spreading. Unfortunately, when you have an infection in your mouth, it can spread to your brain.