Does That Toothache Require an Emergency Dentist Visit?

We can all pick out the obvious dental emergencies: Imagine you are watching your child run around outside, playing with her ball, but then she trips, falls and chips one of her teeth. In that case, a visit to an emergency dentist is a given. But what if you are just feeling a little bit of pain around one of your molars, maybe even enough to keep you up at night? Is that a dental emergency? 

What counts as a dental emergency?

One out of every four people will require an emergency dental visit at some point in his or her life. It might not always be as obvious as a broken or chipped tooth, but there are certain indicators and instances when you should call to make an emergency dentist appointment either immediately or on the next normal office day:

  • Knocked out tooth
  • Chipped or cracked tooth causing pain
  • Loose adult tooth
  • Broken dentures, braces and wires
  • An abscess, or painful gum swelling caused by infection in the root of a tooth
  • Toothache or pain, especially when laying down
  • Missing crown or filling causing pain
  • Dental infections
  • Lost crown or cap causing pain
  • Dry socket, or severe throbbing pain occurring a few days after an adult tooth is removed

Pain is always your first indicator.

As a general rule, if you are feeling any pain, your body is telling you that there is something wrong. That’s when you should evaluate if you need to make an appointment for an emergency dentist visit. Don’t put it off or wait it out, especially if the pain is accompanied by fever or swelling. These are usually signs for dental infections that can quickly become more serious.

Making an emergency dentist appointment can help you avoid long-term damage or more expensive treatments later on. If you have a knocked out tooth, for example, you have the highest chance of saving it if a dentist returns the tooth to its socket within one hour.

If you are unsure whether or not you need an emergency appointment, just call your dentist or an emergency dentist to double-check.

What can you do to relieve the pain in the meantime?

While making the appointment for your emergency dentist visit, you can ease the pain with a mild salt water rinse. Just mix one teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water, and gently rinse your mouth with it. Another way to ease the pain is to put an icepack or a cold compress on your cheek for about 20 minutes.

You can also try over-the-counter pain relief medication, like Tylenol. Don’t use aspirin or ibuprofen if you’re bleeding, as these medicines thin the blood and could worsen the bleeding. But remember: Pain medications don’t treat the issue, but they will only mask the pain momentarily. You will still have to see a dentist as soon as possible to treat the toothache or dental issue.

The Moore & Pascarella Difference

At Moore & Pascarella, we want to provide you with a place to turn to in case of a dental emergency. We have dental offices in Redding and Red Bluff, California, with extended hours to serve your emergency needs. Store our number in your phone, or download our emergency dental guide to keep on hand in case of a dental emergency.

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