When Should You See a Dentist for a Toothache?

Here at The Van Orman Dental Group in Lake Oswego, Oregon, we understand the inclination to hold off on making a dental appointment in the hope your toothache will go away and your tooth will stay healthy. However, you should never ignore tooth pain.

The more pressing question is: How quickly should you get in for dental care to treat a toothache? Many types of toothaches need immediate dental attention, so you can get relief from the pain and we can provide treatment to repair the problem and preserve your tooth.

Always listen to pain

Pain is always a message to pay attention to your body. When pain is mild and tolerable, many people take a wait-and-see approach, but that’s not a good idea when you have a toothache.

Tooth pain often worsens rapidly, so today’s wait-and-see toothache may become tomorrow’s dental emergency.

Waiting to get help also invites serious trouble. A tooth problem isn’t the same as a wound or muscle strain that your body naturally heals. Your body can’t eliminate tooth decay or repair damaged enamel, so a toothache can’t heal without dental care.

Here are four common types of tooth pain that signal it’s time to schedule an appointment at The Van Orman Dental Group.

Sudden or severe toothaches needs immediate attention

A sudden toothache and severe pain are signs of an infection, or an abscess, that has developed in the tooth root or along the side of the tooth.

By the time you experience this type of intense toothache, the infection is well established. Chances are, it has already started to erode the bone supporting your tooth.

An untreated abscess poses another serious problem: The infection can spread from your tooth into your bloodstream. Bacteria that spread from an infected tooth are known to contribute to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and respiratory disease.

An abscess never heals on its own, and the risks to your tooth and health are significant. Immediate dental treatment is essential to saving your tooth and preventing the infection from spreading.

At The Van Orman Dental Group, we offer emergency dental care, so call us when you need treatment for a severe toothache.

Persistent tooth pain needs quick dental care

A persistent toothache also signals the need for quick dental care. The most common cause of ongoing pain is usually tooth decay, but the pain tells you the decay has reached delicate nerves and may have spread into the gum tissue.

If you give decay more time to spread within the tooth and gums, you risk developing an abscess or such extensive damage that the tooth can’t be saved.

Pain when biting down needs speedy dental care

When the pressure of biting down or chewing causes pain, you may have tooth decay, a loose filling, or a cracked tooth. In all cases, pain delivers the same message as it does for all toothaches: A nerve is exposed or bacteria are damaging nerves and tissues that keep your tooth alive.

Sometimes this type of pain is sharp; in other cases, it’s tolerable. No matter how severe your pain feels when you bite down, it’s important to schedule a dental exam so we can determine the cause and repair the problem before you develop an infection.

Tooth sensitivity needs timely attention

A momentary flash of pain or discomfort when a tooth encounters hot, cold, or sweet products isn’t always a serious problem. Some patients simply have sensitive teeth. If that’s the case, we can help with in-office treatments or by recommending products for sensitive teeth.

However, when sensitivity persists or worsens, it’s time to call and schedule a dental check-up because sensitivity may be caused by:

All these dental problems should be treated as soon as possible to prevent progressive decay, increasing pain, or an infection. You may not need same-day dental care, but sensitivity should be evaluated in a timely manner.

Any time you have a toothache and you’re not sure whether you need dental attention, call The Van Orman Dental Group. We’ll assess your pain and recommend when to schedule an appointment.

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