Austin Dentist Asks: Is Your Toothache an Emergency?

A toothache is no trivial matter. In fact, over 25% of working adults in America admit to having taken time off of work to deal with one or more troublesome teeth. A tooth can hurt to varying degrees, and can be caused by a number of different, sometimes unrelated, factors. Therefore, before finding relief, you must find the reason behind your toothache, and in some cases, the pain may warn you that danger is imminent and time is of the essence. Your Austin dentist, Dr. Van Wicklen, explores the danger your smile faces when a toothache indicates an emergency.

Reasons for a Toothache, Emergency and Otherwise

If your tooth hurts because it’s been damaged by a traumatic injury (i.e., crack, chip, fracture, or break), then the reason may not be such a mystery (if your tooth has suffered damage, find out how you can save it by reading our article about handling dental emergencies). However, if your tooth is causing you discomfort and you’re not sure why, then chances are that a dental disease or other underlying issue must first be addressed.

Tooth decay, which leads to cavities, is one of the more recognized sources of a toothache. Your tooth’s main structure, called dentin, contains small tubules that lead to nerves and blood vessels at the tooth’s center (pulp). When acid produced by oral bacteria breaks down enamel, your tooth’s protective outer layer, bacteria can gain access to the more vulnerable dentin and irritate your tooth’s nerves, leading to sometimes severe discomfort. Meanwhile, gum disease can cause your gum tissue to separate from your teeth (gum recession), exposing your teeth’s sensitive tooth roots that lie underneath the gum tissue. Unlike your tooth’s crown, the roots are not protected by enamel, and can make your tooth hurt when exposed to food debris, bacteria, plaque, and other irritants.

Toothaches, Dental Emergencies, and More at Your Austin Dentist’s Office

Structural damage, like a broken tooth, immediately places your tooth at risk and must be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent extensive infection. Dental diseases, however, can sneak up on you, and by the time you feel any physical discomfort, your teeth and/or gums may already be well on their way to destruction. If one or more of your teeth hurt, or you’d like to learn more about how emergency dentistry can help your toothache, schedule an appointment with your Austin dentist by calling 512-448-3131. Located in the 78704 area, we proudly serve the cities of Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and all surrounding communities.