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Is My Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?

 Is My Toothache Considered a Dental Emergency?

Every year, roughly 40% of Americans experience tooth pain from cavities, infections, injuries, or other causes. While some types of pain are temporary or managed with a little TLC, pain is often a sign of a problem that requires emergency dental care.

Patients in Waterford, Michigan, turn to Marvin Taylor, DDS, and the team at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center to find the cause of tooth pain, relieve it, and prevent complications. In this post, learn when tooth pain constitutes a dental emergency requiring immediate medical care.

Pain following a fall or other accident

First, if you have tooth or jaw pain after a fall, motor vehicle accident, or any injury to your mouth or face, it’s important to seek emergency treatment as soon as possible. In these situations, having prompt care can prevent more problems, including tooth loss. You should also seek emergency treatment for injuries involving your gums, lips, cheeks, or other soft tissues.

Pain accompanied by swelling or bleeding

Sometimes, bleeding, generalized gum swelling or tenderness, or a swollen pocket called an abscess accompany tooth pain. This type of tooth pain also needs emergency care. 


Swelling is often a sign of an infection that can spread to your jawbone or your bloodstream, where it can travel to other parts of your body. Bleeding can also be a sign of deep injuries that can quickly worsen without care.

Pain that is getting worse

Worsening tooth pain can be a sign of a developing infection or another problem that can become more severe and difficult to treat. Emergency care helps stop a worsening issue in its tracks before complications occur.

Severe pain

While some types of tooth pain can be a nagging nuisance, other pains are severe or recurrent. This type of tooth pain indicates that you should seek emergency dental care to get to the root of the pain and treat the underlying cause. The same is true if your pain interferes with sleep or other activities.

Pain that worsens when biting or chewing

Some types of tooth pain are “triggered” when pressure gets applied to the tooth, as with biting or chewing. While it might be tempting to chew on the other side of your mouth to delay care, that’s not a good idea. This type of pain can be associated with deep decay, infections, and abscesses that can cause complications without emergency treatment.

Pain accompanied by fever

Fever is your body’s “built-in” mechanism for fighting off germs, creating an environment that’s too hot for the germs to survive and multiply. If your tooth pain accompanies fever or chills, that’s a sign you have an infection that needs prompt treatment to prevent it from spreading and causing more complications. 

Do not ignore tooth pain

Tooth pain might be common but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to take a wait-and-see approach to its treatment. Any tooth pain is an indication of an underlying problem, and prompt care is the best way to prevent more serious — and costly — complications. 

To find out what’s causing your tooth pain and what we can do to help, call 248-681-8100 or request an appointment online at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center today.

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