When is a Cavity a Dental Emergency?

When is a Cavity a Dental Emergency?

It’s often hard to know whether a cavity needs immediate attention or not. Here, we’ll help you determine whether your (or your child’s) cavity is a dental emergency and what steps you can take to help until you’re able to access treatment. 

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole or opening in the tooth caused by decay. Factors that lead to decay are varied and include drinking sugary beverages, not brushing or flossing thoroughly or often enough, snacking frequently, dry mouth, and more. 

Only your dentist can definitely identify a cavity, but signs that you might have one include visible holes in your teeth, brown or black discoloration on your tooth, or pain. 

How Do I Know if it’s an Emergency?

Noticing a cavity for the first time isn’t a dental emergency, but sometimes a cavity does warrant immediate attention from your dentist. If the pain is so severe that you can’t wait for a regularly scheduled appointment, it may be a dental emergency. Likewise, if you notice swelling in your face or pus around the tooth, immediate dental treatment is needed. 

In some cases, decay can lead to a broken tooth that’s sharp. While a sharp tooth isn’t an emergency, it might be necessary to smooth the tooth while waiting for your dental appointment.

How Can I Prevent Dental Emergencies?

Scheduling routine dental cleanings and exams can help you prevent dental emergencies altogether. During routine exams (usually every six months, but may be more or less frequent depending on patient needs and medical history), your dentist looks for cavities in their earliest stages. By identifying and treating any problems early, you can prevent most dental pain and emergencies. 

How can I manage my pain until my appointment? 

There are some steps you can take while waiting for your appointment, including: 

Schedule an Appointment

To take the first step toward preventing damage and restoring your teeth, schedule an appointment with the caring team at Ideal Dental today. Find your local Ideal Dental office to get started. We’re here for you.