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Hawaii Pacific Dental Group, Inc.

Is Severe Tooth Pain a Dental Emergency?

By Dr. Rohinton J. Patel on September 12, 2018

Female patient with severe tooth painToothaches can be mild or severe, acute or chronic. Unfortunately, sometimes the pain can appear out of nowhere, leaving you in an uncomfortable situation. Is severe tooth pain a dental emergency?

Anytime a dental problem causes unbearable pain, then it is considered an urgent situation. That is why we offer emergency care at our family dentistry clinic.

Here, our dental team, serving East Honolulu and Hawaii Kai, explores the causes, symptoms, and treatments for severe tooth pain, and explains what to expect during your emergency dental visit.

What Causes Severe Tooth Pain?

There are many reasons why a severe toothache may occur. Tooth pain can be caused by:

  • Deep dental decay
  • Cracked or fractured tooth
  • A dental abscess
  • A broken or lost restoration
  • Infected gums
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)

Common Toothache Symptoms

In addition to being painful, a toothache may be accompanied by other symptoms as well. These may include:

  • Swelling or inflammation of the gums around the tooth
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Pus or drainage around the affected tooth
  • A bad taste or bad breath

When Is a Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?

First and foremost, if you have a severe toothache, call your dentist immediately. Dental pain lasting more than one or two days is considered serious.

If a fever or earache is also present, it is important to contact your doctor right away. These warning signs could indicate an infection. Dental infections can spread to other parts of the body, including the bloodstream, if not addressed in a timely manner.

What to Expect during Your Emergency Dental Appointment

When you arrive to our office for your emergency dental examination, Dr. Patel will first ask you about your symptoms. This will help him determine when the pain started, where it is located, and how severe it is.

Additionally, he will discuss your medical history with you in detail and perform a comprehensive dental assessment. After examining your teeth, gums, throat, sinuses, tongue, nose, ears, and neck, he will have a better idea of what is causing the issue.

If necessary, x-rays and scans will be taken as well. Once the cause of the toothache has been determined, Dr. Patel will recommend appropriate treatment.

Treating a Severe Toothache

The treatment required for a toothache will depend on the cause. For example, if your pain is caused by decay, then Dr. Patel will either repair the tooth with a filling or crown, or he may need to extract it.

If a large fracture has breached the pulp of a tooth, then root canal therapy will be necessary.

If an abscess has caused swelling of the jaw, then it may need be drained and oral antibiotics may be recommended.

Preventing Toothaches

Because the majority of toothaches are caused by cavities, good oral hygiene practices can help prevent dental pain. Patients should brush at least twice a day and floss once daily.

In addition, patients should attend all routine dental visits. This will allow your dental team to identify and treat any potential problems before they progress.

Contact Hawaii Pacific Dental

Are you experiencing severe tooth pain or another type of dental emergency? If so, please contact our office right away at (808) 955-0008. We can help alleviate your discomfort so you can go back to enjoying life again.

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