What are the Consequences of Ignoring a Toothache?

A toothache is rarely convenient. Sometimes you get busy with work or family and put off treatment. Or perhaps you’re hoping that your toothache is a “one-off” that will heal itself and go away on its own. We’re here to tell you that if you’re experiencing dental pain or discomfort, don’t ignore it. Your tooth is telling you that it’s time to get to the dentist right away. Here’s what to know.

A Toothache Can Have Several Causes.

There are several things that might cause a toothache. They include:

  • A broken or cracked tooth caused by eating, playing sports, or a fall
  • Cavities that have led to an infected tooth or gum area
  • An exposed root caused by gums receding 
  • Pain caused by teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Referred pain caused by other conditions such as a sinus infection

A Dentist Can Help Diagnose the Cause.

You might have some idea about the cause of your toothache based on your own dental history and lifestyle. But booking a consultation with your dentist will help you get to the root of the pain – and quickly come up with a treatment plan. 

How quickly you need to act depends on your situation and the degree of pain you’re experiencing. Mild discomfort when eating cold foods is a different situation than if you’ve broken a tooth or are experiencing significant, throbbing pain. 

Signs that your situation is an emergency and should be treated immediately are:

  • You have a loose (adult) tooth
  • The pain is severe
  • Your gums are bleeding and painful
  • Your jaw is swollen
  • You have an abscess or canker sore that won’t heal
  • You’re experiencing headaches

If in doubt, call your dentist and let them guide you on when to come in. 

Ignoring the pain can make things worse.

A toothache generally isn’t something that just “goes away.” In fact, ignoring a toothache can result in the pain and infection spreading. Sometimes, an untreated infection can cause sepsis, a life-threatening condition. Additionally, generally, the longer you wait to treat a toothache, the more challenging – and expensive – treatment can be. 

Ignoring a toothache can mean:

  • Needing a crown, root canal, or extraction instead of a simple filling
  • A greater risk of hard-to-treat gum disease
  • The infection spreads to other teeth, the gums, or the body
  • Missed opportunity to diagnose other conditions
  • Increased dental care costs 

Even minor tooth discomfort or sensitivity is a sign that an intervention is required. For example, sensitivity to hot or cold can mean that your gums have receded and that the root of your tooth is exposed. Your dentist might simply recommend toothpaste for sensitive teeth – but will know to monitor your gum health closely for future problems. 

Experiencing a toothache? Call Optimal Dental!

Don’t ignore a toothache. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, call the team at Optimal Dental today to quickly identify the issue. Of course, routine check-ups are the best way to prevent toothache in the first place, so if it’s time to book your exam, get in touch today!