Smile Spa Blog

When Should You Go To The Dentist For A Toothache?

Posted by Dr. Aimee Russo-Mounger on Mon, Aug 14, 2017

Toothache when to see the dentistTooth aches and tooth pain can range from severe to very mild. But at what level of pain is it necessary to consult your dentist? A good rule of thumb is that if the pain or discomfort lasts longer than a couple days and does not go away with over the counter medication, it may be wise to schedule an appointment with a doctor.


However, there are many different things that may be causing pain in your teeth, gums, or mouth and all require different treatments.

Types of Oral Aches & Pain


Toothaches are not typically an emergency unless the pain is unbearable and or there is swelling, fever, or drainage. In that case you need to contact your dentist right away or go to the emergency room. Pain to sweet or temperature could signify a normal cavity. To help ease some pain before visiting your dentist, try holding a cold compress on it or using over-the-counter pain-relieving gels.

Tooth sensitivity 

Sensitivity to hot or cold foods may be an indicator of decay in the mouth, a loose filling , aggressive brushing causing an exposed root, clenching or grinding- bruxism. Unless it is causing you extreme pain, it is perfectly fine to wait until your next appointment to inform your dentist. In the meantime, you can use sensitivity toothpaste or a gentler toothbrush as well as avoiding acidic foods and discontinue the use of whitening products.  Most of these problems can be solved by your dentist with a simple filling if caught early enough.  If you are clenching or grinding your teeth a custom occlusal mouth guard will need to be made for you to wear.

Swollen or bleeding gums 

This may be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease which can result in loosing your teeth. On the other hand, poor dental hygiene can lead to extreme plaque build-up on the teeth which can cause your gums to swell and bleed. This is how gum disease begins. Try using a soft-bristle toothbrush, brushing slower and softer, and flossing at least once a day . If swelling and bleeding persists, contact your dentist right away. Blood in the mouth, like anywhere else on the body, IS NOT NORMAL!

Chipped or cracked teeth 

A knocked-loose, knocked-out, chipped, or cracked tooth require immediate trips to the dentist. If left untreated, some broken teeth may become infected and untreatable. Root canals, crowns, or dental implants, possibly just a filling may be used to fix the cracked or chipped tooth. If you completely lost a tooth, it is ideal to see the dentist within 30 minutes or less.

Severe and lasting pain 

Any oral pain lasting more than a day or two should be brought to your dentist's attention as soon as possible. Lasting pain may signify that the pulp tissue of the tooth is damaged and decay is coming very close to entering the nerve. Just like a cracked tooth, crowns, root canals, or dental implants may be needed. In addition, antibiotics may be prescribed to keep the infection from spreading to other parts of your body and becoming VERY dangerous. Again, if you can not get in touch with your dentist right away, go to the emergency room in this situation and see the Oral Surgeon on call.

We can’t prevent all dental mishaps, such as losing or chipping a tooth in an accident, but we can take preventative measures to keep your pain away and dental cost to a minimum! If we can find things happening in your mouth while they are SMALL it is much less PAINFUL for you you and much less COSTLY for you to fix than then to wait until it large and you are in pain! At home you need to keep brushing your teeth at least twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day and seeing your dentist twice a year. These are good habits to establish to ensure that your mouth stays as health as possible!

Schedule an appointment with us today to ensure that you are healthy and we can get you on tract to stay that way!

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