Emergency dentistry is exactly what it sounds like: urgent dental care in instances where failure to intervene could lead to serious health consequences. Just like in general healthcare, it is important to know when aches and pains indicate a potentially serious condition. While the public often carries some knowledge about when this may be the case concerning general health, the same is rarely true of dental health. The following list of five signs that you need urgent dental care aims to change this.
Five Signs You Need Urgent Dental Care
1. A Tooth is Loose
An adult’s teeth should never wiggle. Once your “baby teeth” are replaced by their adult counterparts, your teeth should mature into sturdy tools that help you eat, speak, and live well. If you notice that one (or more) of your teeth has grown loose, you should seek immediate dental care.
Loose teeth are often the result of a sporting injury or car accident. If after such an event your teeth appear to be strong and intact, you still may want to seek emergency dentistry to ensure you haven’t suffered nerve or jaw damage.
Localized infection may also cause loose teeth, especially if wiggling is accompanied by toothache. Where this is the case, it is vital that you don’t delay in seeking urgent dental care.
2. Your Teeth are Chipped or Broken
Not all chipped teeth require emergency dentistry, but those that involve major fractures certainly do. If only a small portion of your tooth is missing and you experience no accompanying tooth pain, scheduling a regular dental appointment is likely sufficient. However, if a large chunk of your tooth is gone—or if you are in intense pain—you should seek immediate dental care.
3. You Have a Dental Abscess
An abscessed tooth hurts a lot, and will likely leave you with no doubt as to whether you need urgent dental care. This type of infection is usually caused by severe gum disease or an untreated cavity, but may also be the result of a chipped tooth or other trauma. Beyond severe pain, symptoms of an abscessed tooth include fever, a foul taste in your mouth, pus, and swollen glands.
4. You Have a Severe Toothache
Toothache may be one of the most common dental problems, but that does not mean it is a benign symptom. If your toothache lasts for more than a couple of days, does not recede with painkillers, causes you pain when you bite, or is accompanied by a bad taste, swelling, or fever, it requires immediate attention. Severe toothache may be a sign of a number of serious conditions, including tooth decay, a dental abscess, infection, or a cracked or damaged tooth.
5. Your Gums Are Bleeding or Aching
A little bit of blood after flossing is common, but anything excessive—or accompanied by aching—is cause for concern. Gum disease is a potentially serious condition that can prevent your teeth from returning to a healthy state, which is why early intervention is important.