When a Toothache Is Cause for Concern

When a Toothache Is Cause for Concern

If your teeth could talk, there wouldn’t be any need for toothaches: Your tooth could simply tell you something’s not right. Without a “voice,” tooth pain is the only way to get the message across. And if you ignore that ache, you could be setting yourself up for a more serious problem. 

At Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC in New York City, our team of skilled, compassionate dental professionals use state-of-the-art techniques to diagnose and treat toothaches, relieving your symptoms while helping you keep your teeth, gums, and other tissues healthy. Here’s how to tell if your toothache means it’s time to make an appointment. 

When to worry about tooth pain

A lot of issues can cause a toothache, which is probably one big reason why they’re so common. So when is a toothache a cause for concern? This is an easy question to answer: Any toothache is always a cause for concern. 

That might sound a little glib, but it’s true: Tooth pain is a definite sign that there’s a problem with your tooth, your gums, or other surrounding or supportive structures. It may be a temporary problem, like irritation that comes from biting down on something hard, or it could be a sign of deep decay, gum disease, infection, or another oral health problem that needs prompt treatment. 

The problem is, without a dental exam, it can be difficult to know how serious that tooth pain really is. There are some clues, though, that can help guide your decision about whether or not you need to schedule an appointment.

Your pain is persistent

Maybe you bit a little too hard at lunch. Or maybe there’s a tiny bit of food wedged between two teeth. Maybe you snacked on a whole bag of chips, and your gums are irritated. These can all cause tooth pain, but with a little time and careful brushing and flossing, these types of temporary issues typically go away within 24 hours or less.

If, however, you have tooth pain that lasts more than a day, there’s a good chance it’s related to something more serious. Delaying treatment could allow that problem to get a lot worse.

Your pain is getting worse

Another sign of an underlying problem is pain that gets worse over time. Typically, increasing or worsening pain happens when that problem is getting worse, too. That could mean an infection that’s spreading or a cavity that’s attacking the deeper layers of your tooth.

Your pain happens when you bite

A toothache that happens when you bite or pain that gets worse when you bite could mean you have a cavity or an infection around the base of the tooth. When you place pressure on the tooth (from biting or chewing), it irritates tiny nerve endings.

Your pain is accompanied by other symptoms

On its own, a toothache is worrisome enough. But you should definitely call the office right away if it’s accompanied by symptoms like:

These can all indicate serious problems, like a deep infection or even oral cancer.

Pain follows an accident

If you have a toothache after a car accident, a fall, or an impact to your face (like being hit with a ball, for example), there’s a good chance your tooth or the tissues supporting it have been damaged, too. It could just be a little swelling that will go away over time, or it could be a cracked tooth or an injury to the gums or jaw. The only way to know for sure is to have an exam.

It’s been a while since your last exam

If you’ve been skipping your twice-yearly checkups, your risk for cavities and gum disease can increase significantly. Having a toothache means it’s time to come in so we can relieve your pain and treat any underlying damage — plus provide preventive care that can help protect against pain in the future.

Never ignore tooth pain

Although some types of tooth pain are temporary and nothing to worry about, many types are associated with underlying problems, like gum disease or deep infection that can spread to other tissues and other parts of your body. Having tooth pain evaluated early ensures you get the most appropriate treatment to maintain your smile and preserve your oral health.

To learn what’s causing your tooth pain, call 929-229-0255 or book an appointment online at Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Do I Really Need Treatment for a Cracked Tooth?

Tooth cracks happen to a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to ignore them. Even if a cracked tooth doesn’t cause symptoms, it still needs to be treated as soon as possible. Here’s how we treat cracked teeth to prevent more serious problems.

6 Myths Patients Believe About Root Canals

Despite the numerous advances in dental techniques, technologies, materials, and medications, many patients remain afraid of even a routine dental visit, and few procedures have the fear-inducing reputation of the root canal.

Is an Abscessed Tooth Serious?

An abscessed tooth isn’t just extremely painful. Without prompt treatment, it can cause serious medical problems that can affect more than your teeth and gums. Here’s how our team treats abscesses and what you can do to prevent them in the future.

What Your Chronic Bad Breath May Be Telling You

Occasional bad breath is pretty common, but if you have bad breath on a regular basis — chronic bad breath — it could be a sign of an underlying medical problem. In this post, learn some of the common causes of chronic halitosis and how it’s treated.

Here's What to Expect At Your Apicoectomy

An apicoectomy is a special technique to treat and eliminate infections at the very tip of a tooth root. It sounds complicated, but the procedure is actually quite straightforward. Here’s what to expect during your treatment.