Describing Your Tooth Pain to an Emergency Dentist
An emergency dentist is a practitioner who provides relief to patients with an immediate dental concern. Emergency dental patients are almost always walk-in patients who need prompt treatment. Often, emergency dentists have availabilities the same day for patients experiencing an emergency. While emergency dentists can provide any oral health concern, they often treat dental abscesses, lost crowns, knocked-out teeth, and cracked teeth.
How can an emergency dentist treat tooth pain?
Dental pain can indicate an emergency. For a proper diagnosis, patients need to understand how oral pain manifests.
Describing tooth pain to your dentist
The first level of tooth pain is sensitivity. Patients may experience sensitivity as a chronic problem, whereas others may experience it suddenly. Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold may be due to weak tooth enamel. However, sudden, painful sensitivity may point toward a cracked tooth in the case of an emergency.
The second level of pain is a dull ache. Dull aches may include mild or moderate pain in one tooth or multiple teeth in a patient's jaw. If a patient presents with pressure and a dull ache when biting down, the patient may have a forming abscess. In other instances, it may be caused by tooth grinding or decay in the tooth.
Level three-tooth pain is sharp pain. Sharp pain is intense, and patients may experience pain when their teeth touch each other or food, or during the act of biting down. Patients may experience aching and throbbing with sharp pain. Sharp pain may indicate lost fillings or crowns, or a tooth fracture.
Throbbing toothaches can come on suddenly and may become worse over time. Patients may feel the throbbing tooth pain in one tooth or throughout their teeth and into their jaw and side of the face. Advanced gum disease may cause severe throbbing pain. Likewise, if patients have decay that exposes the root and nerves, they may experience throbbing pain.
Patients who experience extreme or debilitating tooth pain have level five tooth pain. This amount of pain makes it difficult for patients to focus on anything other than their pain. They may feel sick or dizzy and may consider visiting an emergency room doctor. Severe trauma to the tooth or an oral infection can cause severe pain and require immediate treatment.
Treatments available for patients with pain
When arriving at the emergency dentist's office, patients undergo an exam. Before the exam, the dentist may ask about the nature of the pain. Not only can the dentist provide tips for the patient to avoid further pain, but they can treat the source of the pain.
For example, dental abscesses may require antibiotics to kill the infection. Dentists may suggest over-the-counter pain medication or prescribe a stronger prescription, dependent on the level of pain. Dentists can treat the tooth with a root canal or extraction following the antibiotic treatment.
The importance of treating tooth pain
A minor toothache or occasional sensitivity is normal for many people, but serious tooth pain is a cause for concern. This is especially true if the pain is unexplained, comes on suddenly, persists for more than a few days, or worsens over time. This type of tooth pain is usually a sign that something is wrong. The sooner an emergency dentist can diagnose and treat dental pain, the better the chances of a more favorable outcome.
One of the biggest concerns with severe dental pain is a possible infection. Minor surface infections are relatively common, especially on the surface of the skin, but an infection that is left to worsen and spread can become very dangerous. When it travels into the bloodstream, it can lead to sepsis, a serious and often life-threatening condition that causes the immune system to attack essential tissues and systems in the body. For this reason, all potential dental infections should be taken seriously and should be treated right away. If it will take more than a day to see your regular dentist, do not wait; see an emergency dentist instead.
Learning how to describe tooth pain to an emergency dentist helps patients receive proper treatment based on the symptoms described to the dentist. Dental emergencies may manifest in various ways with various levels of pain. Severe dental pain could be a sign of a serious issue, so prompt treatment should be a priority. With the right procedures and home care, you can enjoy less discomfort and a healthier smile.
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