I saw an emergency dentist last week because I’ve had a toothache for over 5 weeks. My tooth and gums have been really sore and last week the pain got unbearable. The dentist numbed my tooth and looked at it and said that he didn’t see anything wrong. He didn’t do an x-ray. Is this because I don’t have dental insurance? I am able to pay for the work that needs to be done. It might take a month or 2 to get all of it paid off but I can pay for care. Should I see another emergency dentist or just skip that step and see a specialist? – Duncan
Duncan – We won’t speculate on the reason you didn’t receive an x-ray, but you do need to seek additional care. In most cases, you need to be referred to a specialist, so you should find another emergency dentist. A thorough dentist will listen as you describe how the pain began, progressed, and where it’s located.
Possible Causes of Your Dental Emergency
The symptoms you describe are a dental emergency. Prolonging treatment can make the issue worse. Your pain might be caused by a tooth infection, gum disease, or both.
In most cases, tooth pain is related to an infection. Tooth decay can cause an infection that spreads, affects the tooth nerves, and leads to swelling and pain inside your tooth.
It is possible that the infection began in your gums and spread to your tooth. Periodontal disease affects tooth roots and can infect the tooth pulp. Throbbing toothaches result when the pulp is infected.
If you’ve been experiencing pain for two months, both your tooth and gums might be infected. The emergency dentist will first relieve your pain and then examine both the tooth and gum tissue around it. A digital x-ray will reveal any internal damage to the tooth. If root canal treatment is needed, the dentist can schedule a follow-up appointment to complete it and protect your tooth with a dental crown.
Or you might be referred to an endodontist (root canal specialist) or a periodontist (specialist in diagnosing and treating diseases related to gum tissue and supporting tooth structure).
Schedule an Emergency Dental Appointment
Look online for experienced dentists in your area who accept emergency visits. Read their Google pages for patient reviews. You can also read the financial policy page on each dentist’s website to determine if payment plans are available. Let the office know you don’t have dental insurance but you are able to make payments for your care. Describe your symptoms and how long you’ve been experiencing them. A dental office will see you right away.
This post is sponsored by Susan Dennis, DDS of Portage, MI.