When to Go to the Dentist for Tooth Pain

April 30, 2020

Man with toothache that needs a dentistWaking up with a toothache is not a great way to start the day. Many people rely on over-the-counter pain medications to dull the discomfort instead of seeing their dentist. It might be hard to tell sometimes when to go see a dentist and when to just wait it out.

Unfortunately, more often than not, seeing a dentist is the best way to heal a toothache. If you have occasional discomfort, mention it at your routine checkup. Your dentist can then pinpoint the root cause right away, which avoids even larger issues down the road. Remember, dentists want to stop tooth pain, not cause it! 

Toothache Causes

There are many possible causes of toothaches, both dental and non-dental. It’s up to you and your doctor to decide on proper care and treatment so you can go back to normal. 

Dental Causes

  • Wisdom teeth: When wisdom teeth start coming in, they can be very painful. This is especially true if they’re impacted, which can cause inflammation and infection. Your dentist will check your wisdom teeth from an X-ray and decide on the best treatment.
  • Tooth decay: Cavities happen when bacteria eat away at teeth and form holes. Without proper treatment, this decay can lead to pain and sensitivity in the affected tooth. For mild cavities, your doctor will perform a routine filling treatment. For more advanced decaying, a root canal is likely.
  • Gum disease: Inflammation from gum disease can not only cause pain, but also tooth loss. Your dentist will recommend a regimen of regular flossing, brushing, and dental visits. You might even get a deep clean of your teeth to give your gums a head start in the healing process.
  • Damaged teeth: Chipped, cracked, and broken teeth can be painful. If left untreated, they could start cutting into your cheeks and tongue, which is even more painful. Your dentist will recommend a bonding treatment or filling to fix the affected tooth.
  • Malocclusion: People with uneven bites could experience soreness in both the teeth and jaw from uneven pressure. Treatments for this include braces, teeth removal, teeth reshaping, wire stabilizers, and oral surgery.

Non-Dental Causes

  • Vitamin B-12 Deficiency: Lacking this vitamin has been known to cause tooth pain.
  • Cluster headaches: There is a possible link between tooth pain and cluster headaches, though the reason is still unknown.
  • Sinus infections: With two sinuses near the back of the mouth, it’s no wonder that tooth pain can result from an infection in them.
  • Muscle pain: Muscles around the cranium or jaw are sometimes misidentified as a toothache when they get sore.
  • Neurological: Nerve conditions like trigeminal neuralgia can cause sharp pains in the mouth.

When to See Your Dentist for Tooth Pain

Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you have any of the following toothache symptoms that won’t go away:

  • Swelling around the face or jaw
  • Dull pain
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Pain when biting
  • Bleeding or red gums
  • Increasing inflammation
  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • Recent trauma to the face or mouth
  • Earache, fever
  • Feeling unwell and unable to do normal activities due to the pain

If you have toothache symptoms that just won’t go away, please give our office a call at 303-364-6659. We also can schedule same-day emergency dental care appointments to get you feeling better as quickly as possible.