How Do I Know if My Toothache Is Serious?

How Do I Know if My Toothache Is Serious?

a woman in business attire holding her cheek due to a tooth ache

Few things are more annoying than a nagging toothache. A very common problem that can stem from a variety of factors, a toothache refers to pain in or around a tooth caused by irritation to highly sensitive tooth pulp. While many toothaches result from simple issues like orthodontic treatment or food debris wedged in gums or between teeth, some are caused by more serious problems that require timely medical treatment from a dentist. Can you spot the signs of a serious toothache?

When to Seek Dental Care for a Toothache

It’s always a good idea to consult with a dentist if you develop any new or unusual symptoms that concern you. Generally speaking, though, you should schedule a dentist appointment as soon as possible if:

  • Your toothache lasts for more than two days
  • You have a bad taste in your mouth
  • Your toothache does not improve after taking pain medication
  • It hurts to chew food
  • Your gums are red
  • You can’t swallow or speak comfortably
  • You have a fever

Toothaches are rarely a sign of a life-threatening condition. Still, it’s important to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you or someone around you has a toothache that:

  • Causes the neck or the area around the eye to swell
  • Makes it difficult to breathe

Common Causes of Toothaches

The causes of toothaches can range from harmless to severe. A few of the most common reasons for toothaches include:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Tooth fractures
  • Orthodontic treatments like braces
  • Bacterial infections, including abscesses
  • Damaged or loose tooth fillings
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Gum disease
  • Trauma to the tooth from an accident
  • Food debris wedged along the gum line or in between teeth
  • Tooth eruptions, such as impacted wisdom teeth that can’t properly grow through the gums

What to Do While You Wait for Your Appointment

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ease discomfort from a toothache while you’re waiting for your dentist appointment. Consider these easy at-home care tips:

  • Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication according to package directions.
  • Carefully floss around the affected tooth to remove any stuck food particles.
  • Stick to soft foods like scrambled eggs, soups, and yogurt.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Don’t consume sweets or anything very hot or cold until you feel better.
  • Apply a cold compress to the affected side of the face.

Find Relief From Your Toothache

Whether you suspect something serious is to blame for your toothache or you’re simply ready to find relief from your symptoms, you can confidently turn to the experienced dentists at Burns Dentistry. Our state-of-the-art offices in Sun City, Sun City West, and Litchfield Park, Arizona, offer a full scope of dental care services to adults, including timely treatment for toothaches and other common oral health problems.

To schedule an appointment at an award-winning dental practice, contact Burns Dentistry today or request more information on our website. We accept most dental insurances and offer easy-to-navigate financing options to qualifying patients.

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