This is a difficult question to answer because many people will not consider dental pain to be a serious problem, let alone one that requires emergency treatment, when in fact any sort of toothache should be treated at the first opportunity to avoid problems later on. Basically, if you feel that you are in an unacceptable amount of pain you can speak to a dentist as soon as possible, even if you feel that your situation may not necessarily represent an emergency.
What symptoms should I look out for?
Sharp pain – A shooting pain that goes through the middle of the tooth is typically indicative of decay that has started to attack the teeth from the outside; cavities develop as a result of poor oral hygiene in most cases, the plaque acid breaks through the minerals and this reduces the protection around the inner pulp chamber and causes it to react when pressure is put onto the teeth to bite and chew. It is often quite hard to medicate this sort of pain because it is not constant, it will flare up when the teeth are put under pressure and then should dissipate after a couple of seconds, so normal painkillers will be ineffective. Although decay is a very slow process it is a good idea to see your dentist as soon as this problem develops because it is simpler and easier to treat the condition in the early stages, before it has had chance to do irreparable damage to the tooth structure.
Throbbing pain – Most people who have experience with toothache will recognise the throbbing pain that comes when cavities are left untreated for a long period of time; the root and the tooth will start to pulse with pain and this means that infection may have taken hold inside the pulp chamber. At this stage, a filling will not be enough to treat the decay and a root canal will be needed to remove the pulp tissue to stop the infection in its tracks. If treatment is not applied at some point, the throbbing pain will get much worse and normal methods of pain relief will not be enough to deal with it adequately. This type of discomfort can also spread to other areas of the face and neck, sometimes even spreading to the shoulders if the nerves in the surrounding tissue become inflamed and painful.
Recurring toothache – Sometimes toothache may dissipate by itself and this could make it seem like the problem has got better without any sort of dental treatment; although this might appear to be ideal it is actually indicative that infection has moved more deeply into the tissue and the problem will flare up again in a more aggressive form. This kind of pain can last for a couple of weeks and it may respond to painkillers in the first instance but it is unlikely to disappear long-term without some sort of dental treatment. You might be tempted to take painkillers consistently every time the toothache recurs but this is not the best option if you want to get rid of the pain permanently – this only masks the problem and allows the infection to become worse without hindrance. You need to take this condition to your dentist as soon as it flares up again – it’s possible that the infection could become more serious without treatment and the toothache will almost certainly become more painful.
Extreme pain – If you are in a lot of pain you will probably already be aware that you need to get the situation examined by a professional in order to deal with it effectively; extreme dental pain is indicative of infection inside your tooth that has become more aggressive and may have moved down into the roots of the teeth, which puts the rest of the teeth at risk also. The problem with infection is that it can become a serious health problem if it is not addressed when the tooth pain develops; infection can spread to the blood stream and may put your health at risk. If you notice other symptoms alongside the toothache, such as dizziness, high fever, and nausea, you should be going to the hospital rather than the dental clinic because you may have developed blood poisoning and this condition needs medical attention as soon as possible. There’s really no need for you to leave this sort of thing untreated for any great length of time because it will only become more painful and difficult to treat further down the line.
Will I be a low priority if I only have toothache?
There’s no such thing as a low priority when it comes to dental care – your condition is not going to be as serious as it might be if you need medical treatment or you have suffered other injuries; it is not the same as going to the hospital to speak to a doctor. When you call into the clinic or you speak to someone over the phone you will be given an appointment time and then referred for treatment when that time arrives; you will not be pushed back down the queue even if someone comes into the clinic with more serious symptoms. In any case, if the symptoms are more serious than dental issues, you should be at the hospital anyway because a dentist can’t help with heavy bleeding or head trauma that sometimes accompanies dental injuries.
Being registered with a clinic that can provide twenty-four hour care can make a big difference to the way you approach treatment, and it may help if you are familiar with the way the clinic works and this will make it easier to arrange an appointment at short notice if you need to.
If you are worried about your dental health and you would like to speak to someone about the dangers of toothache you should make an appointment with the Pearl Dental Clinic; this London surgery can provide twenty-four hour emergency treatment to help if you need assistance at short notice. Contact the surgery now to make an appointment and get rid of your toothache long-term.