When Does Your Tooth Pain Require a Visit to the Dentist?

We all suffer from tooth pain at one time or another, but how do you know if it’s something you can take care of at home or if you need to make an appointment with the dentist? If the pain is unbearable, give us a call right away and we’ll squeeze you in. Dr. David Jin and our caring, experienced team at A Beautiful Smile Dentistry in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts, never want you to suffer. But, if you aren’t sure what to do, here are some tips to help you decide.

Dental emergencies

Dental emergencies require a visit to the dentist. These include a tooth that falls out on its own or from some kind of accident, or if you’re in severe pain. Other dental emergencies include:

Causes of tooth pain

The causes mentioned above could come on suddenly, as with an accident, or get worse over time. Here’s a look at the causes of tooth pain and how you can handle it.

Tooth abscess

This is an infection that causes sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures and pain. You may also have a fever. This condition can be life-threatening because the infection could spread to your jawbone or bloodstream and then to other parts of your body.

A chipped or cracked tooth

Have you ever taken a bite of an apple or a hard piece of candy and ended up with a chipped or cracked tooth? This is never fun. Save whatever pieces of your tooth you can and rinse your mouth with warm salt water. If it’s bleeding, use a teabag or gauze and apply pressure to the area. To keep swelling down, apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables to your face.

Missing teeth

There are many reasons why you could be missing a tooth. You can fall, have an accident playing sports, or get into a fight. It’s better to try to save the tooth, so find it if you can and place it in a glass of milk to help preserve the roots. Remember to hold the tooth by its crown and not the root. If there’s uncontrolled bleeding, call us or get to the emergency room.

Injury to soft tissues

If you cut your lips, tongue, gums, or cheek, you may bleed or be in pain. If the bleeding won’t stop, or if the pain is bad, call us or get to the emergency room. Otherwise, take some over-the-counter pain relievers, rinse with warm salt water, and use gauze or a tea bag to stop the bleeding.


These tooth injuries may cause pain that requires a visit to the dentist. Other times, you can manage your symptoms at home and see us in a day or so. Don’t wait any longer than that because food particles and bacteria could make their way into the cracks in your teeth and lead to bigger problems down the road.

Staying on top of your routine teeth cleanings and exams can help you prevent tooth decay and tooth pain. Whether you need emergency or routine dental care, we’re always here for you. Request an appointment with Dr. Jin online or call either of our convenient locations.

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