How Quickly Should I Make an Appointment When I Have a Toothache?
The first half of 2022 saw 16.4 million adults in England receiving NHS dental treatment, which was a reduction of 9.5%, compared to the 24 months up to June 2021, when 18.1 million adults were seen. This data suggests that adults are not getting dental treatment quickly enough.
It’s very common for patients to dismiss the idea of seeing a dentist when they develop a toothache, but we must urge that it can actually be harmful for your health if you ignore a dental emergency.
Have you ever wondered, how quickly should I make an appointment when I have a toothache?
We will answer this question in this article, which we hope you find helpful.
How do I know if my toothache is severe?
Many of us develop a mild toothache, which usually goes away within a day or two.
But in some cases, a toothache can become very severe. For instance, if bacteria gets into the tooth and an abscess is formed, then it may require drainage, to prevent the spread of the infection.
Your toothache may be serious if:
- you experience persistent, sharp pain or throbbing in your teeth.
- you experience pain when pressure is applied to the tooth (e.g. when you bite down on food.)
- the tooth pain worsens when you lie down.
- blood or pus is coming from your teeth.
- your jaw, face or neck is swollen.
How quickly should I make an appointment when I have a toothache?
So, how quickly should I make an appointment when I have a toothache?
If your toothache is mild, then it is normally ok to wait 24 hours to see if the pain subsides. In most cases, a mild toothache goes away on its own. During this time, take painkillers and avoid chewing on the painful side of the mouth, to help you manage the pain.
However, by day 2, if your tooth pain has worsened, and you have started experiencing more severe symptoms (such as bleeding, swelling, and being unable to chew), then you should make a dentist appointment as soon as possible.
If your toothache is very serious from the onset (for instance, if you have suffered a blow to the face), then you should make an appointment as quickly as you can. This would be a genuine tooth emergency, which requires fast intervention from a dental professional.
What are home remedies for toothache?
Oftentimes, a toothache can go away on its own, or after you use home remedies.
Take Ibuprofen or paracetamol regularly, but never more than 4 doses a day. You may find it helpful to use tooth pain gels, which are available over the counter.
To make your natural tooth gel, apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to the painful area of your mouth. Aloe vera contains natural antibacterial qualities, so it can destroy the germs in the mouth that cause tooth decay.
You can also try holding a cold compress to the side of your face to reduce swelling.
Moreover, rinsing your mouth with salt water can ease tooth inflammation. Children should never do this, however.
Research has shown that peppermint tea bags can soothe sensitive gums and numb pain, as it kills bacteria found in the mouth. Simply pour boiling water over a peppermint tea bag and wait for it to cool. While the tea bag is slightly warm, apply it to the affected area.
If none of the above methods offers you any relief, and your pain and symptoms worsen, then you should consult a dentist as soon as possible.
You would benefit from advice from a dental professional and you may even need treatment to resolve the dental problem, especially if there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed (such as gum disease).
What might happen if I don’t get my toothache looked at?
If you are experiencing a genuine dental emergency, many things could go wrong if you don’t get your toothache looked at by a dentist. Your tooth pain or inflammation may become more severe and thus require more intense treatment to fix.
Ignoring a very severe toothache could have harmful consequences for your oral hygiene and even your long-term health.
For instance, the pulp inside your tooth may become infected– which can lead to a dental abscess, severe gum inflammation, or other serious complications.
Moreover, your severe toothache may be an early indicator of gum inflammation or a bacterial infection. But if you don’t visit a dentist, then this may develop into periodontitis, which damages the soft tissue and, without treatment, can destroy the bone that supports your teeth.
Dental emergencies can also affect the entire body- as the bacteria in your mouth can also enter into your bloodstream and create problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other medical issues.
All of these examples demonstrate why it is important to see a dentist as soon as a tooth emergency happens. The earlier you get seen by a dental professional, the faster they will be able to help you overcome your problem, prevent further damage, and instruct you on the correct aftercare.
What are the signs of a tooth infection?
Sometimes, a severe toothache may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a tooth infection. But what are the symptoms of a tooth infection?
You should visit a dentist as soon as possible if you experience any of these signs:
- Excruciating pain in the teeth or gums, which doesn’t go away with painkillers.
- Tooth pain that spreads to your ear, jaw and neck on the same side as the affected tooth or gum.
- Tooth pain which worsens when chewing, drinking, or lying down.
- Stiff neck
- Open, oozing sore on the gums.
- Swelling and redness of your gums, jaw and face.
- Sensitivity to very hot or very cold food and drinks.
- High temperature.
- Foul or bitter taste in the mouth or foul-smelling breath.
- Increased heart rate.
- General feeling of discomfort or illness.
If your dental practice is closed, and they don’t offer any out-of-hours appointments, then you should:
- visit another dental practice which does operate out-of-hours, and can provide you with an emergency appointment.
- check whether your town, city, or county has an urgent dental care service, where you can access an emergency dental appointment. Click here to find a dentist near you.
- use the NHS 111 service and take advice from the medical professionals there.
- wait until your dental practice opens again, and book the next available emergency appointment.
You should go to A&E as soon as possible if:
- there is heavy bleeding
- the symptoms have spread to your body (e.g. if you have a fever)
- you experience swelling in the mouth or neck
- you have difficulty breathing
- you have injured your mouth, teeth, or face
Emergency dental care at Didsbury Dental Practice
Our emergency dental care service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including on Bank Holidays and Christmas Day.
Our team of dental professionals can provide treatment for any type of dental emergency: from severe toothache and tooth infections to broken teeth, lost fillings or gum inflammation.
Didsbury Dental Practice has got you covered, at any time of day or night. Dental emergencies can be very painful, so we offer out-of-hours treatment because we know that dental problems don’t always stick to 9.00 am to 12.00 am.
To book an emergency appointment with us, it is not necessary for you to be an existing patient at our practice.
If you experience a dental emergency, simply call our dental emergency helpline on 0161 413 2509, or walk into our dental practice, and we will aim to see you as soon as possible.
We also offer compassionate dental care for nervous patients, because we understand that dentist appointments can bring on feelings of anxiety. Click here to learn more about our services for nervous patients.
Read similar content like this
To learn more about dealing with a toothache or tooth emergencies, click here to read our blog articles on:
- Why You Should Deal With a Dental Emergency Quickly
- What Can Be Considered as a Tooth Emergency?
- Does a Toothache Count as Emergency?
- Top 5 Dental Emergencies
- What Is an Out-Of-Hours Dentist?
- How Much is an Emergency Dentist?
- Is A Broken Crown a Dental Emergency?
- Is a Loose Crown a Dental Emergency?
- Are Dental Emergencies Covered by the NHS?
About Didsbury Dental Practice
We are a 24-hour emergency dentist in South Manchester. Our team is highly experienced, and we deliver a level of patient comfort like no other dental practice. Every patient is treated with the most sophisticated care and the best customised treatment in a truly relaxed atmosphere.
In addition, all of our staff are multi-lingual. Languages spoken at our dental practice include German, French, Polish, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.
If you need an emergency appointment, call our dental emergency helpline on 0161 413 2835, or walk into our practice and we will aim to see you as soon as possible.
To learn more about Didsbury Dental Practice, visit our website here.
Check out our blog to read more articles on all things dental health.
We hope this article has answered the question ‘how quickly should I make an appointment when I have a toothache?’