Try as we might, most of us will experience some form of tooth pain in our lifetime. Thankfully, in most cases, toothaches are caused by cavities, debris stuck between teeth, or a damaged filling. However, there are times when dental discomfort can be a warning sign of a much larger issue. In fact, leaving some toothaches untreated can pose a threat to the rest of your body! Read on as your Memorial emergency dentist explains how something as simple and common as a toothache can impact your overall wellbeing.
Why Are Toothaches a Big Deal?
First and foremost, your smile shouldn’t cause you pain. Any type of dental discomfort should be looked at by your dentist in a timely manner. Unlike the rest of your body, your teeth can’t heal themselves. If they’re painful or damaged, it’s practically inevitable that the issue will get worse if left untreated. Eventually, even a small toothache caused by a cavity can lead to a serious dental infection.
What Happens If a Tooth Infection Spreads?
Not only are infected teeth typically very painful, but they can cause permanent damage and severe complications. As bacteria grow and accumulate in or around your tooth, they can begin to spread to and infect nearby teeth. Eventually, the bacteria can be inhaled or escape into the blood stream, allowing the infection to travel to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, brain, and other important organs. If your tooth infection spreads throughout your body, you may experience:
- Headache, dizziness, or fatigue.
- Fever, chills, or skin flushing.
- Swelling in the face, mouth, neck, or jaw.
When Should I See a Dentist for My Toothache?
Thankfully, the earlier your toothache is seen by your dentist, the easier it typically is to treat. If your teeth are painful or sensitive, you should schedule an appointment right away. However, you should call your emergency dentist immediately for a same-day visit if your toothache is accompanied by:
- Discomfort that lasts more than a day.
- Intense pain or pain while biting and chewing.
- Red, bleeding gums with pus or discharge.
- A small pimple-like bump on the gums.
- Looseness or dark discoloration of the painful tooth.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Infections?
Ideally, you will never experience an infected tooth. A few healthy habits can go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy and infection-free, including:
- Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste.
- Flossing all your teeth daily and rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash regularly.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or whenever the bristles become frayed.
- Eating a nutritious, low-sugar diet that’s high in vitamin C.
- Visiting your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings.
If you have a toothache, don’t put your health at risk by putting off seeking treatment. Your Memorial dentist can identify the cause of your discomfort and determine the most effective treatment to keep you and your smile happy and healthy!
About the Author
Dr. Mark Gray’s first goal is always to help his patients lower their risk of dental emergencies in Houston, TX and keep their smiles healthy. However, he and his team are fully aware that life just happens sometimes! Thankfully, they have years of experience helping their patients quickly get out of pain and restore their oral health with comfortable treatments like root canals and same-day dental crowns. To learn more, he can be contacted via his website or at (281) 493-9395.