There is a wide variety of different types of toothaches, and just as many factors that can cause them. Sometimes, improved oral hygiene, better brushing habits, or getting a filling is enough to ease the discomfort completely. Other times however, tooth pain could be a warning sign of a much more serious issue. Your Oklahoma City family dentist explains which types of toothaches need to be seen right away and which ones can wait until your next appointment.
Signs of a Dental Emergency
Dental emergencies like a cracked or knocked-out permanent tooth can be easy to identify. However, there are several instances where you should seek urgent care for your toothache as well:
- Your gums are inflamed, bleed easily, or have a small bump: These symptoms are often the result of the advanced stage of gum disease. If left untreated, this bacterial infection can cause permanent jawbone damage, tooth loss, and an increased risk of heart disease.
- Your teeth are loose, shifting, or painful to chew with: Permanent teeth are held in place by connective tissues in the gums and jawbone. If you have a tooth abscess or other dangerous oral infection, these tissues could become destroyed.
- You are experiencing a fever, fatigue, or swelling in the face, jaw, or neck: Serious oral infections can cause systemic reactions and become life-threatening if left untreated. If you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, go straight to your local emergency room.
Non-Emergency Types of Toothaches
Any pain in your smile should be looked at your dentist right away to prevent it from becoming worse. However, you are not likely to need emergency care if you have:
- Flashes of tooth sensitivity: Sensitive teeth are often the result of enamel that’s been weakened by over-brushing, a highly acidic diet, or chewing on hard objects.
- Sudden stabs of pain: This common type of toothache often indicates a cavity, cracked tooth, or a broken/ missing dental filling.
- A dull, nagging toothache: A constant, dull soreness in the teeth, gums, or jaw could mean that you have a condition known as bruxism and grind your teeth in your sleep.
- An ache in the back of your jaw: Although it’s uncommon, pain in the back of your mouth could be a warning sign of an impacted wisdom tooth pressing on the neighboring teeth.
- Discomfort associated with the tilt of your head: If your tooth pain worsens when getting up, bending over, walking, or tilting your head, it could be due to sinus pressure or sinusitis.
Thankfully, the grand majority of toothaches can easily be treated at home or by your dentist at your next checkup. If you’re unsure if you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call your dentist anyways. They can help you decide the next steps to take as well as give first aid advice over the phone.
About the Practice
At Dental Expressions in Oklahoma City, OK, your safety and comfort are equally important to us. Dr. Colin Holman, Dr. Jon Holman, and the entire dental team regularly complete continuing education courses to stay current with the latest advancements in the field of dentistry. They are proud to use state-of-the-art technology and modern techniques to ensure your appointment is as comfortable and effective as possible. If you’re concerned about your toothache, please don’t hesitate to contact them via their website or at (405) 735-6600.