Toothache? When to Visit the Dentist

June 1, 2019

It’s late at night, but you can’t sleep because you have a nagging toothache. You aren’t sure if you should give your dentist’s office a call – we’ve all been there. And while we can’t give professional advice in the place of your trusted dentist, we can offer a hand in what to do until you get to your appointment. So go ahead and ask yourself the questions below. If applicable to your situation, we hope it helps you take the next step in alleviating your symptoms.


Q: What if my gums are bleeding?

A: If your gums are swollen, red or bleeding, this could be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. Although probably not necessary to schedule an urgent appointment, for proper treatment and diagnosis, you should bring this up at your next dentist appointment. In the meantime, you can amp up your oral hygiene routine. Check out our post on what you can do about bleeding and swollen gums.


Q: What if I have a toothache?

A: Although it’s probably not a serious situation, a toothache could mean you have a cavity. If you have mild pain doesn’t let up soon, it’s good to schedule an appointment with your dentist so they can check it out. If your mouth is significantly sore and tender, it’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, consider taking over the counter pain relievers (as directed), trying a saltwater rinse (be sure not to swallow) or a cold compress by using an ice pack on your cheek.


Q: Is your tooth cracked or chipped?

Any tooth that is chipped, cracked or knocked out could be considered a dental emergency. The reason being, it could become infected. Even if it doesn’t hurt, the nerve inside could be damaged. Give your dentist’s office a call immediately, to see what the next step should be. Before your appointment, keep your mouth and tooth as clean as possible by rinsing with warm water. Use caution if you chew something so it doesn’t not chip more. In most cases, it’s best to cover a broken tooth to avoid exposure to bacteria.


Q: What if I have sensitive teeth?

A: Are you having pain when consuming hot or cold foods or beverages? If this pain lasts only a few seconds, it could signify a number of issues, including: an exposed root, a loose filling, worn tooth enamel, teeth grinding, or maybe a small area of decay in your tooth. It’s likely not an emergency situation but It is good to talk to your dentist about your tooth sensitivity at your next appointment. In the meantime, you can avoid foods and drinks that are causing discomfort, but this is not a good long term solution.


Need to find a dentist near you? Check our provider search to find one in your area.