When should I see a dentist for a toothache?

See your dentist as soon as possible if:

  • You have a toothache that lasts longer than one or two days.
  • Your toothache is severe.
  • You have a fever, earache or pain when you open your mouth wide.
  • You experience swelling in the mouth or face.

The proper diagnosis and treatment of dental infections are important to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the face and skull and possibly even to the bloodstream.

Toothaches can be extremely uncomfortable but the pain isn’t permanent as long as it’s treated. Your dental professional can relieve your pain and prevent any infections in your mouth from spreading in your body.

Can a toothache make me sick, or even be fatal?

A toothache itself isn’t fatal. But an untreated infection in your tooth (or any other part of your body) can spread. You can become sick, and this illness could turn into something serious or even life-threatening. So if you toothache isn’t getting better it’s a good idea to contact your dentist.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/23/2020.

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