Tooth Pain: How to Tell When a Toothache is Serious

woman with coffee mug touching her cheek in pain

woman with coffee mug touching her cheek in pain

You’d be hard pressed to find someone out there that loves toothaches. They’re hard to ignore, painful, and can mean something is wrong with your teeth or gums.

Any time you are experiencing persistent tooth pain it’s time to make an appointment with our dentists here at Contemporary Family Dental. But what should you be looking out for when it comes to toothaches?

Here is what you need to know about symptoms, causes, and when it’s time to visit our office.

What Defines a Toothache?

Regardless of the cause, a toothache is general pain that is in or around a tooth. A handful of factors can contribute to a toothache occurring. Some minor toothaches can be treated with at-home remedies while others end up being more severe.

Knowing when to listen to your body and seek professional dental care from our Grand Rapids dentists is important. If a serious toothache is not quickly dealt with, there is a chance that tooth extraction will be the only solution.

We want to keep your smile healthy at all costs. If your pain is too much to self-manage and lasts longer than 2 days, please contact our office right away.

Causes & Symptoms

When it comes to toothaches, it isn’t hard to know you have one. The pain can be outright distracting and make it difficult to eat or drink. Because a toothache can mean any number of things, our dentists will need to examine your mouth to determine the cause.

Common causes of toothaches include:

  • Abscessed tooth
  • Tooth decay
  • Fractured tooth
  • Damaged filling
  • Excessive grinding or clenching
  • Gum infection or disease
  • An accumulation of food or debris between teeth

Any of the above causes will often result in sharp, throbbing, or constant tooth pain. Sometimes pain only occurs when pressure is applied to the tooth. There may also be swelling associated with the toothache.

Most symptoms will resolve on their own or with simple remedies. However, it’s best to contact our office if you are experiencing extended pain or symptoms that could indicate infection.

Be sure to see our dentists if your toothache is:

  • Lasting longer than 1 or 2 days
  • Severe
  • Accompanied by a fever, earache, or pain when you open your mouth wide

Treatment Options

Before treatment can be chosen, our team of dentists will conduct an oral examination. Your medical and dental history will also be reviewed to give our dentists the whole picture.

Depending on the cause, we may need to fill a cavity, perform a root canal, prescribe antibiotics, or possibly extract a tooth. Our dentists will do everything they can to alleviate your pain and save any affected teeth.

On the other hand, if your toothache is minor, we recommend that you try:

  • Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater
  • Using floss to dislodge trapped food particles
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers as needed
  • Applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek

Find Relief Now

No one ever chooses tooth pain and our family dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, don’t want you to suffer in silence. We can help relieve symptoms and offer treatment when home remedies won’t suffice. Schedule an appointment today online or call Contemporary Family Dental at (616) 209-3969.