Is toothache viewed as an emergency?

This is not always a simple question to answer because every patient will experience a different sensation when toothache develops – some people might not think that mild pain requires immediate attention. In general terms, it can probably be said that any sort of toothache requires emergency treatment because it is easier and usually more effective if treatment is applied during the early stages of any type of dental condition; this means it is more likely that dental care will be successful and easier on the patient too.

Although second opinions can certainly be helpful in circumstances where you are not sure whether you require an emergency appointment, you certainly should not hold anyone else’s opinion above your own when it comes to toothache. If you feel that you are in pain and you want to get it treated right away, don’t let other people talk you out of making an appointment – it could be that there is nothing seriously wrong with your teeth but you are better getting them checked out anyway, just to be sure.

What kinds of symptoms require immediate attention?

Shooting pain – This is usually related to decay that has started to break down the tooth minerals and reduced the protection around the inner pulp chamber. Cavities in the enamel are exposing the inner nerve endings to outside elements and so the pulp reacts when pressure is put onto the tooth; a sharp, shooting pain that runs through the centre of the structure is typically the first sign of decay. There’s no need to panic at this stage because a small filling should be enough to deal with the problem effectively, however, you should not wait too long before speaking to a dentist because the decay will continue to damage the tooth and it could eventually lead to tooth loss further down the road. It will usually be quite hard to medicate this sort of tooth pain because it is intermittent; flaring up when pressure is put onto the tooth and then dying down again a few seconds later.

Throbbing toothache – The throbbing sensation that sometimes comes with toothache is indicative of infection inside the tooth structure; the nerve endings become inflamed as a result of decay that has broken through right to the centre of the tooth. Infection can easily spread down the root and into the supporting bone if it is not treated accordingly when the throbbing toothache first develops; a root canal will be needed to remove the pulp tissue and restore the tooth to good health. While this type of toothache may respond to pain relief initially, this will not get rid of the infection and antibiotics might be needed to fight the bacteria from within. Throbbing pain can also radiate to other areas of the body as the nerve endings in the surrounding tissue also become inflamed and sore.

Recurring bouts of pain – Sometimes it might seem like toothache goes away by itself without requiring any sort of professional intervention, but that is not actually what is happening; when the infection moves into the tissue more deeply it will initially appear to improve, it can flare up again at any time, in a more painful state. If this happens to you, don’t assume that the problem has treated itself; you could be at risk of tooth loss and further health problems if you don’t get some dental treatment straight away. In addition, the pain will normally recur in a more dramatic fashion that might spread to other areas of your head and neck, even spreading to the shoulders if the infection is severe. There’s really no need for you to ignore this problem when there is help available so just make an appointment with an emergency dentist to make sure that this is dealt with from the source – rather than trying to medicate it yourself to mask the pain.

Extreme toothache – If you are in a severe amount of pain you will probably already be aware that you need to get dental treatment in order to get rid of it permanently – no amount of pain relief is likely to make a noticeable difference in this sort of situation. You should also be on the lookout for other symptoms that could suggest the infection has spread to other parts of your body, possibly the blood stream; such as, nausea, high fever, and dizziness – if you experience these symptoms you may have developed blood poisoning. This is not a condition that a dentist will be able to help you with, so you need to get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible for medical treatment. 

Will I be a low priority if I only have toothache?

There’s really no such thing as a low priority patient when it comes to dental emergencies because they are not the same as medical problems; the symptoms are not going to put your life at risk and you should be going to the hospital rather than the dental clinic anyway if you are having serious problems. When you call the clinic or you arrive in person to make an appointment you will be provided with a specific appointment slot and then referred for treatment when your time arrives; you will not be pushed further down the queue every time someone else comes into the surgery – even if they seem to have more serious problems than you. Dentists will be used to treating patients whose only symptom is toothache, so don’t worry about not being a high priority – if anything, they would probably encourage patients to refer their case to a professional at the first sign of trouble, rather than waiting for the toothache to become much more aggressive before making an appointment.

If you are dealing with toothache and you would like to get rid of it long-term, you should get in touch with the Pearl Dental Clinic and arrange treatment as soon as you get chance. This surgery offers a twenty-four hour emergency service to both registered and non-registered patients, as well as a walk-in service that could benefit you greatly.

How to find us?


5 Vale Parade, Kingston Vale

Kingston Hill, London SW15 3PS


Pearl Dental Clinic

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