Sometimes a toothache is more than a painful annoyance. It’s
a message to see your dentist in
as soon as possible. Here are seven signs that the pain in your
tooth needs professional dental care right away.

Sign #1: You Have a Fever or Chills

Most toothaches are caused by a bacterial infection, usually
the type of bacteria that brushing and flossing are intended to control. Sometimes
these microscopic invaders spread far enough to threaten your overall health, as
in the case of an abscess. When this happens, fever or chills are common

Sign #2: Your Mouth or Face is Swelling

This can signal either a serious infection or a physical
injury. In either case, you should seek help right away. In the meantime, applying
cold to the affected area may bring short-term relief.

Sign #3: You Have an Earache, Mouth Pain, or Both

Sometimes these are caused by a normal toothache. Other
times they may signal something more severe, such as a fractured or dislodged
jaw, an infection deep in the bone, or even a tumor. See a dentist or other
medical professional as soon as possible.

Sign #4: Your Gums Are Bleeding

Tooth decay is a progressive illness. It typically starts
near the chewing surface of the tooth and works its way down to the roots,
working cause gum bleeding. Other possible causes of this problem are impact
trauma, an open sore or cut, or even oral cancer. All of these are serious conditions
that require urgent care.

Sign #5: Pain in Other Parts of Your Body

Sometimes the cause of a toothache has little to do with the
teeth themselves. It may stem from a problem in another part of the body that
radiates to the mouth. This is why you should seek immediate medical help if
your toothache is accompanied by discomfort or tightness in your chest, neck,
or face.

Sign #6: You’re Having Trouble Chewing or Swallowing

This is another sign that your toothache has reached an
advanced stage. It can be caused by infection, allergic reaction, or a swelling
inside your mouth or throat. It may impair your ability to breathe when left

Sign #7: A Skin Rash

This is another sign that cavity-causing bacteria may have
spread into other parts of your body. Bringing the infection under control might
require antibiotics.

What to Do during a Dental Emergency

An emergency is by definition a stressful event.
Nonetheless, it’s important at such times to stay as calm and collected as
possible. Here are three steps to take during a dental crisis:

  1. Take a deep, calming breath. This will
    help you to gather your wits.
  2. Minimize any discomfort. Taking a
    nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
    is a good idea. Never take any prescription medicine without express medical approval.
  3. Make a note of any unusual symptoms. Your
    care provider will need this information in order to arrive at an accurate

Knowing what to do when the unexpected occurs can make a
world of difference. Use the tips in this post as your guide during a dental
emergency. You’ll soon be on your way to happier, healthier days.

About the Author

Dr. Samantha Amaro is distinguished both by her outstanding
academic background and the personal passion she brings to the practice of
dentistry. She’s a member of both the Ontario Dental Association and the Royal
College of Dental Surgeons. You can reach her office online or by
calling 1-416-285-4545.