Dental emergencies are unexpected and can be very stressful. Continue reading to learn about five common situations that are considered a dental emergency.Outlined below are accurate overviews of five types of dental emergencies that commonly occur:Injuries happen all the time due to sports or accidents. When a tooth becomes completely dislodged from the mouth, it…
What Is a Tooth Abscess and Is It a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is nothing you should scoff at. Ignoring the most urgent dental matters can affect not only your oral wellness but your overall health. A tooth abscess can be one of the most serious conditions that a general dentist encounters. If the dentist treats it early enough, you can spare the tooth and find relief. However, if the abscess continues to affect you for a long period, it can lead to severe consequences.
An overview of a tooth abscess
When a tooth becomes infected due to bacterial growth, a tooth abscess occurs. With this infection, a pocket of pus will grow around the root of the tooth. An abscessed tooth will cause pain and discomfort. Without intervention, the pain can be excruciating and limit an individual’s ability to perform routine tasks. The longer this condition goes untreated, the more likely it will become an emergency and require immediate care. An abscess will not disappear on its own, so treatment from a general dentist is necessary.
How an abscess develops
Under the hard layer of enamel and the layer of dentin is the pulp. In this chamber lies nerves, blood vessels, and other types of tissue. Infection of the pulp most often occurs due to extreme tooth decay and large cavities. These can develop because of poor oral hygiene, such as a lack of proper brushing. Poor flossing habits can also lead to gum disease, which can, in turn, cause an abscess. Also, when an individual breaks or cracks a tooth, it becomes more prone to developing an infection.
Symptoms of an abscessed tooth
Most people do not have difficulty realizing that a dental emergency has arisen with their teeth. When it comes to an abscess, the patient will have intense, prolonged pain. This pain will not go away over time. An abscessed tooth may also cause gum swelling and redness in the area. People with this condition may also have a bad taste in their mouth. A fever can also accompany an abscess.
When an abscessed tooth becomes a dental emergency
An abscess in the tooth involves the spread of bacteria from the cavity to the jawbone and soft tissues of the mouth. It can also travel to the neck and face. This dental problem is extremely painful. Tissue swelling tends to contribute to the pain and discomfort. The infection site has pus. It will only be more painful as pus gathers.
The pain will go away when the pus erupts through the soft tissue or drains out through surgery. Some cases involve the inflammation of the airway. It then makes breathing difficult. Other people even experience fevers, vomiting, and chills. The pain will go away by seeing an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
The emergency treatment
The patient can go to an emergency dentist to see if a dental abscess is causing the discomfort. Seeking emergency help is important if over-the-counter pain medication is not working anymore. Dental X-rays can tell the dentist the extent and site of the infection. A physical oral exam can also inform the dentist about the extent of the swelling. Addressing the severe pain is the priority, along with the difficulty breathing and swallowing.
The dentist will drain the abscess if it is drainable. Cutting it open will allow the pus to flow out of the infected tissue. Draining the pus can also happen at the very beginning of the root canal treatment. Some patients have abscesses that rupture by themselves. The dentist will prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers to battle the infection.
What to do when this dental emergency occurs
Ignoring this emergency can have serious results. People who notice the symptoms of an abscess should go to the general dentist’s office right away. Many dentists can get patients in for same-day appointments in these situations. While waiting to go into the office, the patient can take pain medication and apply a cold compression pack to the affected area. The dentist will have to perform a root canal to remove the pulp and clean out the infection.
Without the right treatment, the patient could lose the abscessed tooth. The infection could also spread throughout the mouth and into the face and neck. Eventually, it could even make its way into other parts of the body. The abscess could even travel into the heart, leading to cardiovascular problems.
Nothing to take lightly
It should be clear to see that an abscessed tooth is a dental emergency. You can get the relief you need by quickly getting to the dentist’s office. Your dentist will have the knowledge and training to remove the infection. This will stop the discomfort you are feeling.
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