For a few months I’ve been dealing with tooth sensitivity. I know I need a filling, but life’s gotten in the way and I haven’t made the time to go have it done. Then the other day I was a eating cookie, bit into one of its macadamia nuts, and ouch! I felt the tooth crack and then instant pain. The pain hasn’t subsided, it’s constant, and now my gums are puffy around the area of that tooth. I was going to make a dental appointment for next week during my vacation time, but now I’m wondering if I should go to the emergency room to be seen sooner. It really hurts! Can you help?
Lisa T., Cary, North Carolina
Ouch is right! Tooth pain can be brutal so I understand why you’re considering taking a trip to the ER. But I think you’d be served best by calling your dentist right away to see if he or she can fit you in. Dentists know all too well that things like this happen, so they usually keep emergency appointment slots open just for times like these. If you don’t have a regular dentist, google “emergency dentists” in Cary and the surrounding areas until you find one who can see you right away. Don’t be in pain any minute longer than you have to, especially if there’s someone out there who can help.
Now about your cracked tooth. Good news is a damaged tooth can almost always be fixed. To improve the chances, however, you should do some things immediately. First, try to reduce the puffiness by applying a cold compress directly to the affected area. Also, try rinsing with a warm water salt solution to keep the tooth from getting infected. You won’t know how bad the damage is and what steps need to be taken to repair it (for example, you could need a root canal) until you see a dentist. So until then, just try to manage the pain.
Next time you feel a little sensitivity in your tooth, please make time to go see about it. Your dental health is extremely important. And also make sure you’re having regular, 6-month checkups because prevention is the key to having a healthy mouth and overall good health.
This blog is sponsored by Buffalo dentist Warren M. Krutchick, DDS.