Encountering sudden toothache & swelling can catch you off guard, instantly turning an ordinary day into a dental emergency. Knowing what measures to take in these situations is critical for reducing immediate pain and limiting the possibility of more catastrophic problems. The significance of readiness and prompt reactions cannot be emphasized, as they can substantially impact the successful management of dental crises, contributing to better oral health outcomes.

By understanding and implementing timely measures, you can navigate toothache & swelling more effectively, mitigating risks and ensuring a more favorable resolution to emergent dental situations. Proactively responding can make a notable difference in safeguarding one’s overall oral well-being during unexpected and uncomfortable dental episodes.

Symptoms Associated with Toothache and Swelling

Symptoms Toothache and Swelling

Toothache & swelling often emerge unexpectedly, inducing a spectrum of mild to severe discomfort. The pain may be persistent, pulsating, or intermittent, extending its influence to the head, ear, and jaw.

Intense Tooth Pain

The main sign of a toothache is extreme pain in the tooth. It usually hurts constantly and gets worse when you touch it or consume hot or cold things.

Swollen Gums

A significant cause of toothache & swelling is when the tooth root becomes exposed. Gum recession or severe tooth decay may be the cause. Periodontal disease-related gum recession exposes the tooth root, causing pain and discomfort. In addition, it could result in painful gum symptoms, including gum pain and sensitivity, as well as swollen gums.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is another symptom that can present itself with swelling and cause severe toothache. Sensitivity is typically more obvious when the tooth is exposed to cold (or hot) air, food, or beverages. In severe cases, even taking a deep breath can heighten tooth sensitivity.

Loose Tooth

If a loose tooth is accompanied by toothache & swelling, it may be considered a dental emergency. The risk of losing the tooth is higher in such cases, and emergency dental services are often necessary to preserve the tooth in the long run while also providing relief from the initial discomfort caused by the toothache & swelling.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Severe toothaches caused by an infection can lead to swollen lymph nodes. Moreover, if the infection spreads and affects overall health, the patient may also experience a mild fever. This indicates prompt care is needed to address the dental issue and prevent further health complications.

Common Causes of Toothache and Swelling

Causes of Toothache and Swelling

Toothache & swelling can stem from various common causes, each demanding attention and care. Here’s a breakdown of the primary culprits:


Severe cavities are notorious for eroding the protective layers of enamel and dentin around your teeth. As they delve deeper, the pain intensifies, especially during the consumption of overly sweet foods. Monitoring cavities is crucial to prevent escalating discomfort.

Infected Tooth

When left untreated, cavities pave the way for tooth infections. The demise of nerves within the tooth results in significant pain and discomfort. This is often accompanied by tooth sensitivity and swelling in the gum area surrounding the infected tooth. Swift action is vital to address the infection and alleviate the associated symptoms.

Oral Trauma

Accidents in contact sports, slips, or falls can lead to dental injuries, causing jaw and gum pain reminiscent of a toothache. It’s plausible that the impact has resulted in cracked or broken teeth. Seeking prompt dental attention is imperative to assess and treat any trauma-related dental issues.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Prolonged and severe teeth grinding, known as bruxism, exerts stress on the ligaments and roots of your teeth, inducing an achy sensation. If you suspect teeth grinding, consulting a dentist promptly is advised. Timely intervention can prevent further pain and potential damage to your teeth caused by bruxism.

Home Remedies for Toothache & Swelling

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Explore using OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for effective pain and inflammation management. Ensure adherence to the recommended dosage and seek advice from a healthcare professional if necessary.

Soothing Saltwater Rinse

Create a mixture by combining a teaspoon of salt with warm water and gently rinsing your mouth. This simple remedy aids in reducing inflammation and combating bacteria, contributing to a sense of relief.

Clove Oil Application

Clove Oil Application

Dab a small amount of clove oil onto the affected area using a cotton ball. Capitalize on the natural numbing properties of clove oil to temporarily alleviate pain. This straightforward remedy can offer a welcome respite from discomfort.

When Should You Consider Toothache & Swelling as a Dental Emergency?

If you’re experiencing a persistent toothache & swelling that has lasted beyond 1-2 days, accompanied by intense pain or discomfort, it signals a dental emergency. This often points to an advanced cavity or an infected tooth.

Without prompt and proper care, the situation is likely to deteriorate. As the infection advances, the pulp supporting the interior of your tooth will progressively worsen, resulting in escalating pain and discomfort. Ultimately, the entire tooth will succumb to the damage. It might naturally fall out or persist in your mouth until it requires extraction. Immediate attention is crucial to prevent further complications and preserve your oral health.


It might be frightening to experience a sudden toothache and face swelling, but knowing what to do next is critical. Act quickly by cleaning your mouth and attempting home treatments to relieve the discomfort. Most essentially, contact the emergency dental specialists at University Ave Dental to treat the underlying reason. You can effectively handle dental concerns and protect your oral health by remaining prepared and responding quickly.

Schedule your appointment today by calling 763.784.1242 or visiting our offices.


What will an emergency dentist do for a toothache?

Fixing a toothache might just require a  simple filling, which can handle pain if the tooth isn’t broken and is still in good shape. The dentist will provide local anesthesia to the patient and use a drill on the tooth.

When is dental swelling an emergency?

If you see swelling around a tooth, you should address it as quickly as possible, but it is not an emergency that requires immediate attention. However, if the swelling has moved to your face, neck, or eye, you should seek emergency medical attention.

When is a toothache considered an emergency?

If your tooth hurts for more than 1-2 days and it’s causing you a lot of pain, consider it a dental emergency. It likely means you have a severe cavity or an infected tooth. If you don’t get proper care, it will only get worse.