With most dental problems, discomfort and issues tend to develop slowly. Whether or not you've been trying to simply tolerate pain or have been suddenly overcome with pain seemingly out of nowhere, there's no good reason to put off seeing the dentist. In fact, doing so could mean significant problems for you in the future. If you have a severe toothache, this is why you need to get help immediately.
Intense Pain Is a Bad Sign
Pain is a common first sign for people that something has gone wrong with their oral health. When it comes to tooth pain, outside of major injuries, most discomfort comes on slowly. Cavities, for example, often begin with basic tooth sensitivity before gradually turning into discomfort and pain. However, intense pain, whether it's due to ignoring an issue or if it's suddenly happened all at once, usually indicates a big problem.
For most people, this kind of pain only begins once a tooth has entered a critical stage of damage. Nerve endings are buried deep inside your teeth that are responsible for sending electrical signals through the body and into the brain. When you touch a tooth or eat something hot, this is what allows you to feel it. When damage to a tooth becomes severe, so does the pain, as most dental decay and damage has to go deep into the tooth before the pain becomes this bad.
Waiting Makes Matters Worse
Whether your pain has started just now or a while back, waiting only makes matters worse. Once serious nerve pain begins in the tooth, it's not something that simple brushing and flossing can reverse or control. Over the counter numbing solutions can help temporarily, but while you're medicating your discomfort, it's likely that the problem will only become more severe.
Saving or Losing a Tooth
In many cases, waiting too long to have a tooth looked at and taken care of can mean the difference between saving or losing that tooth. When decay, infection, or damage goes deep enough into the tooth, it can end up causing such critical damage that the tooth has to be pulled. However, if you get help as soon as you can, preferably by scheduling a same-day or next-day appointment with an emergency dentist, the tooth may be preserved, either by drilling it, providing antibiotics to control an infection, or through a root canal. This saves you the trouble of having a gap in your smile and needing to spend time and money on a tooth replacement later on.
Dental pain is not something you should put on a backburner. If you're hurting so much that you can't focus or get through your daily activities, get in touch with a professional. Contact an emergency dentist to learn more.