When To Call a Doctor
You should make an appointment with a dentist if:
- You have not seen the dentist in 6 months to a year.
- You have a toothache. Sometimes a toothache will go away for a while, but the Reference tooth decay Opens New Window will continue. A constant toothache that does not go away could mean that you have severe decay, and you may lose your tooth.
- You have swelling in your gums near a sore tooth. This may mean that there is severe tooth decay or an abscessed tooth. For more information, see the topic Reference Abscessed Tooth.
Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If you get better on your own, you won't need treatment. If you get worse, you and your dentist will decide what to do next.
Watchful waiting is not appropriate for a toothache. If you ignore the decaying tooth after the pain goes away, the tooth may become seriously damaged.
Who to see
A Reference dentist Opens New Window is best able to evaluate your tooth decay and pain.
If you have severe decay, the dentist may refer you to a specialist, such as:
- An Reference endodontist Opens New Window, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of problems of the Reference pulp Opens New Window.
- An Reference oral or maxillofacial surgeon Opens New Window, who specializes in removing teeth and other mouth surgeries.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Reference Making the Most of Your Appointment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 19, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry