Extreme toothache: should I see an emergency dentist?

Published on June 05, 2022
Extreme toothache: should I see an emergency dentist

While any kind of toothache can be painful and uncomfortable, there’s a difference between a mild toothache that’s annoying and an extreme toothache that’s unbearable.

If you’ve tried rinsing, brushing and flossing and find the pain in your tooth to be too severe to cope with, you need to contact an emergency dentist immediately.

A toothache can indicate the presence of a tooth infection. If this infection spreads to other parts of the mouth or the body, this can lead to much more serious health consequences, not to mention more trips to the dentist and - ultimately - a more costly treatment to fix.

Read on to learn more about extreme toothaches, how to decide if your toothache is a dental emergency, and what to do if you’re experiencing a severe toothache.

How to know if you’re in a dental emergency

If you’re experiencing severe and sustained pain in your tooth, mouth or jaw, it’s a major warning sign that you need to see an emergency dentist immediately.

Dental emergencies can cover a range of serious concerns requiring urgent attention, including:

  • A knocked-out tooth
  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • A broken tooth
  • A tooth abscess

An extreme toothache generally indicates a more serious oral health condition, so it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible - they’ll be able to identify the underlying cause of your toothache and provide you with the emergency treatment you need.

Unsure whether your dental emergency requires a trip to the emergency dentist or the emergency doctor? Find out more here.

Why extreme toothaches are so painful and require emergency dental

A toothache occurs when the soft material inside the tooth - called dental pulp - becomes inflamed. Inflammation of a tooth’s dental pulp can be caused by:

  • Dental cavities
  • Trauma to the tooth
  • Tooth infection
  • Referred pain from the jaw

As dental pulp contains nerve endings that have a high sensitivity to pain, the symptoms of a toothache can be excruciating. 

By making an emergency dental appointment, your dentist will be able to alleviate the pain you’re experiencing, as well as investigate the cause of your toothache so the appropriate course of treatment can be provided.

What will a dentist do for severe tooth pain?

The way your toothache is treated will depend on your individual situation and what the emergency dentist has diagnosed, usually after conducting some x-rays to assess your teeth and mouth.

Rest assured that once you see the emergency dentist, you’ll be in the best hands. The dentist will do all they can to ensure you feel comfortable, with as little pain as possible, while they identify the underlying cause of your toothache.

To relieve the pain of your toothache, the dentist may:

  • Apply anaesthesia to help numb the pain before proceeding with treatment
  • Prescribe medication such as painkillers and antibiotics
  • Use nitrous oxide gas if this is a suitable option

Once the underlying cause of your toothache has been identified, the emergency dentist will advise on the best course of treatment to address the issue. This may include:

  • An emergency tooth extraction for a badly chipped or broken tooth
  • Filling of a cavity or removal of the tooth in the case of a dental cavity
  • Root canal treatment if an infection is present

How can you prevent a toothache?

Given the severity of pain that a toothache can cause, taking steps to avoid the preventable causes of a toothache is a good way to reduce your risk of having to deal with this dental emergency.

As cavities and tooth infections can develop as a result of poor oral hygiene practices, taking care to maintain your oral health can help to minimise your chance of getting a toothache. Here are some of the basic oral hygiene steps you can take to prevent a toothache:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Floss your teeth daily with dental floss
  • Reduce your intake of sugary and acidic foods
  • Keep up-to-date with your regular dental check-ups
  • Visit your dentist if you have any oral health concerns

Regular dental check-ups are an important step in preventing the factors that can cause a toothache. By identifying potential oral health issues early, your dentist can treat conditions sooner, before they develop into more serious problems.

Similarly, visiting an emergency dentist as soon as possible in the case of an extreme toothache can help to ensure you receive the urgent treatment you need - which could save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long run by addressing the issue before it becomes more complex.

Have your toothache treated by the friendly dentists at National Dental Care

Your local National Dental Care or DB Dental practice is here to provide you with the emergency dental care you need to alleviate your pain and treat the cause of your toothache. During your consultation, your dentist will be able to identify the severity of the problem and ensure you receive the treatment you need as soon as possible.

It’s important to be mindful that a severe toothache is considered a dental emergency, so you should contact your local dental practice straight away - we offer same-day appointments for dental emergency on the weekend, so don’t delay getting in touch.

Remember, although emergency dental can be more expensive than standard treatment, seeing your dentist as soon as possible in the case of an emergency is always the best option.

Not only can they alleviate painful symptoms and treat the issue before it leads to more serious health concerns, but getting treatment sooner rather than later can save you from much higher costs further down the line. How much more expensive is emergency dental?

Find your nearest National Dental Care dentist now for an emergency dental consultation.

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