Skip to main content

Does My Toothache Need Emergency Dental Attention?

Does My Toothache Need Emergency Dental Attention?

When we think of a dental emergency, we typically conjure thoughts of a knocked out tooth, blood, and other scary images. But if symptoms are more subtle, would you be able to determine if a toothache, for example, constituted an emergency?

Dr. Alistair Saeghi and his extraordinary team at Modern Age Dentistry offer a plethora of treatments, from routine cleanings and exams for the entire family to cosmetic dental proceduresInvisalign treatment, and yes, emergencies

Dr. Saeghi approaches your care with expertise gained from many years of practice, a knowledge of the most advanced dental treatments, and warmth. That last quality is especially important because we know that for many, a visit to the dentist’s office is anxiety-producing!

Is it an emergency? 

The short answer is, it depends, since toothaches can stem from issues that aren’t considered emergency-level serious to very urgent. 

Having a toothache simply means that you’re experiencing pain in or around your tooth, and though that description sounds relatively benign, anyone who has had a toothache can tell you that it’s a pain like no other. It can affect sleep, work, and your quality of life.

You may feel sensitivity when you’re not doing anything with your mouth; experience sharp pain when you try to chew, eat, or bite; and notice swelling and an all-around achiness and persistent throbbing. 

Common causes of toothache include untreated tooth decay and sinusitis. Sinusitis is a health condition that causes sinus inflammation and is linked to bacterial, viral, or fungal infection in a sinus cavity. The roots of your upper teeth are located near your sinuses, so you may notice pain specifically in those teeth. 

If Dr. Saeghi decides that treatment for your toothache can wait a day, you may be able to get relief at home before your dental appointment by using a warm water rinse in your mouth, making sure that any food wedged between your teeth that may be causing sensitivity is removed with dental floss, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers. 

An impacted wisdom tooth may also be responsible for a toothache. An impacted tooth is one that gets lodged in your bone or gum tissue and is unable to grow in.

If you suffer serious tooth trauma and lose a tooth, the situation has gone beyond a simple toothache, and immediate care is needed.

Less common causes of toothache include certain neurological conditions and lung and heart diseases, since your vagus nerve passes through your jaw to get to your heart and lungs. Tooth pain can also be a warning sign of an impending heart attack. 

If Dr. Saeghi determines that most of these problems aren’t causing your tooth pain, but that it’s linked to decay, a routine visit to Modern Age for a filling may be all that’s in order. However, if decay has greatly progressed, an emergency may be brewing.

When a toothache constitutes a dental emergency

You will need an emergency dental appointment if your decay has been untreated for a long time and you’ve developed an abscess, which is an infection that develops near your tooth or in the pulp inside of it. 

Aside from terrible, constant pain, abscess symptoms include:

Time is of the essence with this situation, because there’s a chance the infection could spread to your brain, which is life-threatening and requires immediate treatment.

Depending on your symptoms and their severity, Dr. Saegi determines whether you can wait to see him until the following day or if you should go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room. 

The Modern Age Dentistry team is ready to help whenever you need us, but we hope that we will see you for routine procedures rather than serious ones. Dr. Saeghi is dedicated to providing extraordinary care, and if your need is urgent, he can help you determine your next steps. Call the office most convenient to you to set up an appointment, or request one online. We are located in Los Angeles, West Hills, and Ojai, California.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth: What to Expect

Have you indulged in black coffee, red wine, tomato sauce, berries, and other foods and drinks that stain your teeth? Professional whitening treatment does wonders, but you might worry that your tooth sensitivity precludes treatment. Learn more here.
When to Have Your Dental Crown Replaced

When to Have Your Dental Crown Replaced

Dental crowns serve a multitude of purposes, from beautifying your smile to working in tandem with other restorative techniques. Learn about the advantages of crowns and if, why, and when they might need to be replaced.
4 Popular Treatments for a Smile You’ll Love

4 Popular Treatments for a Smile You’ll Love

If things like stains, chips, and gaps make you self-conscious to show your teeth, you’ve got options that can restore your smile’s beauty and make it dazzling again. Learn about popular cosmetic treatments and their benefits here.
How to Adjust to InvisalignⓇ With Ease

How to Adjust to InvisalignⓇ With Ease

InvisalignⓇ corrects your smile with clear plastic aligners that are subtle and comfortable — a far cry from the hassle of braces. Learn more about Invisalign and how to make the transition seamless when you start wearing them.

5 Dental Emergencies and How They’re Treated

Dental emergencies are scary and require immediate attention. Learn about five common urgent dental conditions and how your dentist addresses each one, here. Hopefully you’ll never need emergency dental care, but if you do, you’ll be prepared.