If your tooth starts hurting, you probably take an over-the-counter pain reliever and forget about it once the discomfort subsides. But is this the right thing to do when you have tooth pain? Is a toothache considered a dental emergency? Read on to find out whether you should seek emergency dental care for a toothache.
What Pain Means
Throughout the human body is a complex network of cells and neurons – called the nervous system – that constantly transmit information. In addition to telling the muscles to move, these nerves also relay messages to the brain when there is potential danger. One way they do is by triggering a pain response. Generally, pain is designed to let you know that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
How to Respond to Tooth Pain
Tooth pain can vary in intensity, so many people ignore or avoid seeking treatment for mild aches until the pain becomes excruciating. However, as mentioned earlier, tooth pain is a sign that something is wrong and could worsen unless you take action.
Just to be on the safe side, call your dentist and give their team as many details of your situation as you can. They should schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible. Here are some tips for managing your tooth pain in the meantime:
- Carefully floss around the area to make sure you don’t have a piece of food trapped between your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth out with a saltwater solution to minimize the risk of bacterial infection.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as directed on the label. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are often the best options for toothaches.
- To cut down on swelling as well as pain, hold a cold compress to your cheek for no more than ten minutes at a time.
The Dangers of Ignoring a Toothache
Oftentimes, tooth pain is the result of decay or infection in the sensitive inner layers of a tooth. Unlike most other parts of the body, teeth are actually incapable of healing themselves when they are infected or damaged. Therefore, your toothache will typically not go away if you ignore it. In fact, delaying treatment might actually cause the infection to spread to your gums, surrounding teeth, or jaw. If it reaches your bloodstream, it could gain access to your entire body and cause systemic illness.
So, is a toothache considered a dental emergency? Not always, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. That’s why you should call an emergency dentist as soon as you can. Not only can they relieve your pain, but they can help you avoid even worse health problems in the long run.
About the Practice
Each one of the dentists at Painesville Dental Group is committed to ensuring that every patient receives top-quality, personalized dental care right when you need it. The team of doctors at each of their four locations possesses decades of experience and the ability to treat and protect smiles of all ages. If you’re dealing with tooth pain, please visit their website to set an appointment.