How To Know If Your Dental Pain Is An Emergency

How To Know If Your Dental Pain Is An Emergency

Got a toothache? Tooth pain can be excruciating at times. Other times it's more of a dull ache or a sharp pain that comes and goes. There are many different types of dental pain. How do you know if your dental pain is an emergency? Here’s a general overview of dental pain, what it may mean, and what you should do. 

Extreme Sensitivity 

Sensitive teeth are common for many people. Exposure to something cold or hot may send a quick jolt of pain to the nerve in your tooth that fades a second or two after the source is removed. But if the sensitivity persists even after the cold or heat is removed, it may indicate that the tooth is in need of treatment, such as a root canal. This is not an emergency, but it probably should not wait until your next dental appointment. Give your dentist a call and schedule an appointment for an oral examination. 

Pain that Comes and Goes 

If you have a toothache that comes and goes or only hurts when you’re chewing, you may have a small crack in a tooth that is hard to see. This is not the sort of emergency that requires after hours care, but it should be checked out as soon as possible during regular office hours. A cracked tooth is susceptible to infection if bacteria enters the inner chamber of the tooth and infects the pulp. This tooth may need a root canal and a crown. 

Mouth Sores 

Canker sores, abscesses, and other mouth sores can be extremely painful. They can sting when you eat or drink and brush your teeth. Sores in the mouth are not always something to worry about. A salt water rinse may be all that is needed. But an abscess (a pimple-like bump with a white head) is an indication of an infection, such as an infected tooth or gum disease. This can wait until regular office hours, but it should be checked out by your dentist sooner rather than later. 

Severe Throbbing Pain 

If your pain is severe and/or throbbing and does not improve with over the counter pain medication, you have a true dental emergency. Call us during or after office hours and we will see you as soon as possible. Severe tooth pain often indicates an infected tooth that will need a root canal. Prompt treatment increases the chances that the tooth can be saved. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Emergencies

How severe does my pain need to be for it to be considered an emergency?

If you’re not able to get any relief from over the counter pain medication or you are unable to sleep due to the severity of the pain, your situation may be considered an emergency. When you contact us we will ask you some questions to determine the severity of your situation and whether or not it is a true emergency. 

When is an emergency life threatening?

An emergency becomes life threatening if any of the following occur; 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable bleeding 
  • Loss of consciousness

If any of these situations occurs, call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency department, whichever option will be faster.

Why Choose Dental Associates of Lodi? 

At Dental Associates of Lodi we take dental emergencies seriously. If you contact us regarding a dental emergency during regular office hours we will make arrangements to see you as soon as possible. If a dental emergency occurs after office hours, please call and follow the instructions provided on the voicemail to leave a message. Someone from our office will contact you shortly with further instructions. If the emergency becomes life threatening, call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room. 

In case of a dental emergency, call 862-247-8030. Contact us today to learn more about our emergency services.