How can you tell if your toothache can wait until your dentist’s normal clinic hours or if it is a serious problem that requires dental emergency care? Dental problems can come in all shapes, sizes, and severity of pain. Seeing a dentist is the best way to get immediate pain relief and proper treatment. It is important to know what requires immediate attention to prevent yourself from suffering more serious complications, which will cost you more money later.
Here’s a quick summary of the most common signs that you need dental emergency care.
1. Loose Tooth
As adults, you should never experience loose teeth. Your teeth have properly matured and grown sturdy. Loose teeth can be very painful and often indicate an injury. Whether it was from an accident or sport, you will want to ensure your teeth will remain strong and intact. Get an emergency dental appointment to check for nerve or jaw damage.
Localized infection can also cause the loosening of teeth. You must see a dentist immediately. Aside from a comprehensive oral exam, X-rays are often requested to determine the exact cause of the infection. Most of the time, it is either due to dental cavities or gum disease. Early treatment can prevent the spread of infection and emergency tooth extraction.
2. Severe Toothache
The severity of your tooth pain can also be a sign you need to see a dentist immediately. If your pain is just minor, a few home remedies should work instantly. If not, proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial to permanent relief.
3. Painful and Bleeding Gums
While it may seem normal for you to see your gums bleed after brushing or flossing, it may indicate early signs of gingivitis. See a dentist immediately, especially if the bleeding and pain is severe and accompanied by swelling. Catching gum disease early is the key to keeping them and your teeth healthy and intact. Gum disease occurs in stages, and treatment will depend entirely on what level you are at.
4. Swollen Jaw
A swollen jaw can be an indication of a serious infection. Most of the time, this is caused by a blockage in the salivary glands, preventing the proper breakdown of food and flushing out of bacteria. Patients often complain of fever, trouble breathing, painful swallowing, and a bad taste in the mouth. If you experience these symptoms, seek dental emergency care.
5. Dental Abscess
Any sign of a dental abscess should have you on your way to a clinic that offers emergency dental services. An abscessed tooth is extremely painful because it affects the root. It is often caused by a cavity left untreated or severe gum disease. It can also be due to trauma. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth are quite similar to a swollen jaw, except that there is pus. Complete draining and treatment may require surgery.
6. Canker Sore
Any lesions in the mouth that are not healing within 2 weeks is not normal. Call your dentist immediately, especially if it has already become infected.
7. Numb Teeth or Mouth
If you have been experiencing an excruciating toothache and then suddenly you started feeling nothing at all, it could be a sign that an infection has already spread to the root of your tooth. Numbness is never a good sign, and dental emergency care in the form of a root canal treatment may be in order.
8. Metallic Taste in the Mouth
Have you ever had a metal filling before? If your mouth starts tasting like one, it can be a sign that your old filling has loosened or cracked. It is important to visit your dentist immediately because an open cavity will increase the risk of infections. Your dentist will clear out any bacteria or infection and give you a new filling.
9. Lost Crown
If your tooth crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Keep the crown with you. This may cause you severe pain, and the application of clove oil using a cotton swab can be helpful. If this does not work, you may also try to slip the crown back over your tooth using an over-the-counter dental cement or adhesive, but never with super glue!
10. Broken Braces and Wires
If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket, it can poke your tongue, cheek, or gum. While you may try to push the wire back into a more comfortable position using a pencil eraser or put wax over sharp edges, it is best to get to seek dental emergency care. You may end up swallowing or breathing in cut wires.
Now that you know exactly what a dental emergency is and how much more it means than a mere toothache, you can pay better attention to what is going on in your mouth. If you have noticed any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment with your dentist immediately.
Sunrise Dentistry offers emergency dental services, along with other holistic treatment approaches. Give us a call at (970) 247-3303.