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How Long Can I Delay Treatment for a Toothache?

man getting medical advice from a doctor
Author: cmcgovern Posted: July 21st, 2020 Category:

Never ignore dental pain. It could be a sign of a serious dental problem that needs immediate treatment.

With so many elective medical procedures postponed due to the COVID19 crisis, you may be wondering when you will be able to see a dentist about your toothache. Non-emergency dental care has resumed in the Denver Metro Area. While following CDC guidelines about social distancing comes first, it’s important to prioritize dental health as much as you are able. 

A persistent toothache that lasts two days or more indicates a serious underlying dental problem requiring immediate treatment. A prompt visit to the dentist will uncover the cause of your tooth pain and greatly improve your oral health.

Why Does My Tooth Hurt?

In some cases, dental pain can be associated with a sinus infection that causes pressure on the molars, or a trauma to the tooth. Most likely, however,  your toothache is caused by a breakdown of the enamel, tooth decay, or an infection within the tooth. Some common causes of dental pain include: 

Sensitive Teeth. Over time, the enamel covering the tooth wears away, making the tooth sensitive to hot and cold. Unfortunately, tooth enamel cannot regenerate the way skin does by building new cells. Enamel erosion develops after a build-up of dental plaque, a thin layer of sticky film over the tooth that forms when you eat sugary and starchy foods. Eventually, this breakdown of enamel leads to tooth decay and cavities.

Cavity. As the enamel thins, harmful bacteria and acid eats away at the tooth, creating holes or cavities in the tooth. In an early stage, a cavity can be treated with fluoride that seals up the enamel. If the cavity grows, a filling made of resin, porcelain, or a composite material can bind up the tooth and make it whole

Root Canal. When tooth decay reaches further into the tooth pulp and inner tissue, your tooth has become seriously infected, and you will need a root canal to relieve the pain. In a root canal procedure, the diseased pulp is removed and the infected tissue is cleaned out. A dentist fills the empty pulp with a sealant and places a crown over the repaired tooth. A root canal typically takes several weeks to complete. Once the pain disappears, you might think you can skip further treatments, but that may lead to further tooth damage and oral problems.

Although some people who need a root canal may feel no pain after a few days, that doesn’t mean the problem has gone away. Instead, it likely means the nerves in the tooth are dead, but the infection could still be spreading. If the infection advances through the tooth and gums, you may lose that tooth. 

Don’t Ignore Your Tooth Pain

In addition to persistent pain, if you notice swollen areas around the tooth, are suffering from a fever, or have an unpleasant taste from pus seeping from the infected tooth, make sure to see a dentist as soon as you can. 

Espire Dental is open for appointments. Your safety is paramount to us, so we are following CDC guidelines for PPE and taking all precautions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Please read about the measures we’re taking to ensure your safety and health when you visit our office here, and don’t delay treatment for your toothache any longer.