How Do I Know If My Toothache is an Emergency?

Toothaches are not pleasant, but you might not consider yours an emergency if it isn’t severe. The truth is that an aching tooth might not pose an immediate threat to your dental health, but if not treated, it can grow worse and become a serious threat.

The question remains, however, should you schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist immediately, or just wait until your next dental checkup and cleaning? Unless your next appointment is tomorrow, then you might want to consider the following when deciding if your toothache is a dental emergency.

How long has your tooth been aching?

Patients may be more inclined to postpone dental treatment if a toothache is minor, and isn’t new. Mild toothaches might not be very disruptive, but if your tooth has hurt for a while now, then it may mean that the tooth is in trouble, and steadily growing worse. If the aching is becoming more and more severe, then schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible to prevent more extensive dental issues.

Does the gum tissue around the tooth bleed?

Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, doesn’t always cause tooth sensitivity, but it is typically marked by bleeding in your gums. As it progresses, gingivitis can cause gum tissues to recede, exposing your teeth’s sensitive roots. If one or more of your teeth are sensitive and the gum tissues around them bleed when you brush and floss, then you may have gingivitis, and should seek periodontal treatment immediately.

Does your hurting tooth have a restoration?

Over time, a restoration like a dental filling or dental crown can fail, even if the restoration was of top quality when it was first placed. If it does, then the restored tooth can become weak and vulnerable, and the aching could be a warning to fix the restoration before it is too late.