Our team at Healthy Smile Dental, led by Hannah Baek, DDS, offers outstanding general, cosmetic, and emergency dental services for patients of all ages who live in and around our Woodridge, Illinois, community.
We’re dedicated to creating and maintaining the beautiful smile you deserve and are happy to provide information that helps you make informed decisions about your oral health. Read more about toothaches and when it’s time to schedule a dental visit.
Understanding what causes toothaches
One of the first steps in determining whether you should schedule a routine dental visit for a toothache, or possibly an emergency appointment, is to try to identify the underlying cause of your pain.
Common toothache causes include:
- Minor gum irritation
- Wisdom tooth eruption or impaction
- Worsening gum disease
- Bacterial infection (abscess) in the tooth or gums
- Tooth decay
- Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth
- A damaged or lost filling
- Excessively worn tooth enamel, often due to repeatedly grinding or clenching your teeth
Other than minor gum irritation, which might be due to a temporary problem such as a popcorn husk trapped between your gums and a tooth, these issues require dental treatment to prevent further damage and worsening pain.
But some dental issues require care more urgently than others. And without a dental exam, it may be impossible to identify the cause of your pain, since it could be related to a problem hidden within the affected tooth or below the gumline.
Let your symptoms be your guide
Thanks to all the sensitive nerve endings in your mouth and jaw, a toothache can range from a mildly annoying discomfort to an excruciating pain that many individuals describe as the worst they’ve ever experienced.
Although a toothache is not usually considered life-threatening, the condition driving the pain can cause serious illness. A bacterial infection of the gums or inner tooth (pulp), for instance, can spread to the rest of your body via your bloodstream.
At Healthy Smile Dental, we recommend you schedule an urgent appointment for any pain that:
- Is difficult to ignore
- Does not respond to over-the-counter pain medication
- Lasts longer than one or two days
- Is accompanied by fever, earache, or foul odor/drainage from the mouth
- Makes it difficult to open your mouth
- Occurs along with swelling in the mouth or face
- Increases in severity
Our emergency dental services are available 24/7. Should your tooth pain occur outside of office hours, your call is forwarded directly to Dr. Baek, who provides further instructions over the phone.
What if my toothache goes away?
If your pain resolves and it was related to a temporary issue such as minor gum irritation or tooth sensitivity, it’s probably safe to assume the problem is solved once the pain resolves.
But most dental issues don’t heal on their own. Gum disease or a fractured tooth, dental cavity, lost filling, among others, only worsen with time and can eventually compromise your oral health and overall smile appeal.
Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Baek at Healthy Smile Dental today for toothache care and information about preventing future issues.