A toothache can range from a mild nuisance to an extremely painful condition. Although all toothaches require a dental visit, sometimes you need to contact an emergency dentist so you can be treated as soon as possible.
How Severe Is the Pain?
Toothache pain can vary greatly, but if the pain is so severe that it is hindering your ability to complete normal daily tasks, then it may be an emergency. Mild pain can be treated with a topical pain relief gel, such as that used for teething babies. Severe pain won't respond sufficiently to such treatment, so an emergency dental appointment is necessary to address the pain.
Is There Swelling, Tenderness Or Pus?
Swelling may only be present inside the mouth, usually in the form of a blister-like abscess on the gum near the aching tooth. Sometimes pus may leak from the abscess, as well. You may also experience swelling on the outside of the cheek, along with tenderness or even a warm feeling in the area. These are all signs of infection, which means you need to seek emergency dental care to address both the infection and the cause of the toothache.
Can the Tooth Wiggle or Move?
Your permanent adult teeth should not wiggle at all. If there is tooth movement along with the pain, then it is an emergency. Causes can range from trauma to the roots or gum, to issues with infection, decay or gum disease. Prompt treatment is necessary if the tooth is to be saved, as well as to provide relief from the pain and to protect from severe infection.
Do You Have A Fever?
Fever is another sign of infection. A severe toothache combined with fever can indicate that the infection is spreading and that you may need treatment of both the cause of the painful tooth as well as for the infection itself in order to avoid a major illness. When a fever is present, you must call an emergency dentist right away, as treatment can't be delayed.
Is It Affecting the Ability to Eat or Drink?
Sometimes a toothache makes it difficult to eat or drink properly. You may not be able to chew or even swallow. Soft foods may help, but these can also lead to pain and a loss of appetite. It's difficult for your body to heal properly without proper hydration and nutrition, so it is important to contact a dentist so you can get some relief.
Contact an emergency dentist if any of the above applies to your toothache.