Prosthodontics, Implants, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry

How to Know If You Have a Dental Emergency

You may experience a dental emergency when you least expect. With so many dental concerns, it can be hard to identify a real dental emergency. In the face of a dental emergency, how fast you seek dental care could determine whether you keep your tooth. If you experience unusual symptoms in your mouth, it’s essential to seek immediate dental care to prevent the situation from worsening. What are the common signs of a dental emergency? You would be surprised to learn that seeming minor dental issues could be dental emergencies.

The Common Signs of a Dental Emergency

You should never overlook a dental emergency. Every year, millions of Americans seek emergency dental. Therefore, dental emergencies are common and may manifest in different ways. Some of the typical signs of a dental emergency are:

Experiencing Severe Toothache

You could experience a dental emergency if you have a persistent toothache that won’t go away. When most people experience a toothache, they are quick to buy over-the-counter medication to manage the pain. If the dental pain persists even after taking pain medications and trying other remedies, you could experience a dental emergency. Persistent toothache that keeps recurring could be a sign you have developed an infection at the root of your tooth. Seeking emergency dental care will enable the dentist to examine your tooth and determine the source of the pain.

At times, persistent toothaches could be a sign of a dental abscess. You may touch around your tooth and feel a bump or a swollen part around the aching tooth. If you suffer from a dental abscess, the persistent toothache could accompany other symptoms like fever, swollen gum or face, and tooth sensitivity. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek dental care immediately.

You can identify severe dental pain if the pain keeps you awake. The pain may also radiate around the jaw, ear, and neck area. You may notice that lying down makes the pain worse. This throbbing pain in your mouth calls for immediate dental care. Your dentist will identify the source of the pain and put you on treatment immediately.

At times, severe pain may subside, and you develop tooth numbness. Experiencing tooth numbness is a sign the tooth may have an infection. Tooth numbness signifies the infection could have spread to the tooth’s root and may require root canal treatment. Other causes of tooth numbness are trauma on the tooth due to tooth grinding or biting on something hard. Tooth numbness occurs when the tooth loses access to blood flow and nutrients.

You Have a Broken or Cracked Tooth

If your tooth is slightly chipped and does not cause pain, you do not require emergency dental care. However, you should seek emergency dental care if you have a knocked-out or a broken tooth. A broken or knocked-out tooth is likely to cause you extreme pain. Seeking immediate dental care will help manage the pain and enable the dentist to save your tooth. You may experience a knocked-out tooth after an accident, mainly sporting accidents. If the entire tooth is knocked out of the socket, you should place the tooth in a cup of milk before seeing your dentist. Proper handling of the knocked-out tooth will increase the chance of re-inserting the tooth back to its socket.

If you leave a cracked tooth untreated, you will not only experience pain but also open a pathway for bacteria to access the interior of your tooth. When bacteria enter the tooth through the crack, you are likely to develop a tooth infection. Dentists can fix small cracks on the tooth with a filling. However, more significant cracks on the tooth may require a root canal.

At times, it may be hard for a dentist to save a cracked tooth experience if the crack has extended to the root of the tooth. In this case, the only remedy would be tooth extraction. People who often grind their teeth are more susceptible to cracked teeth. Your dentist may recommend a night guard to prevent further cracking of your teeth due to tooth grinding.

The treatment route your dentist will adopt for your broken tooth will depend on the severity and the location of the broken tooth. The priority will be to save the broken tooth. If you wait too long before seeking dental treatment, the dentist may not be able to restore the broken tooth to its place.

You Have Loose Teeth

You should seek immediate dental care if you notice a loose tooth in your mouth. Your teeth should be sturdy and mature by the time you reach adulthood. Chewing, biting, and speaking does not interfere with the sturdiness of your teeth. Therefore, you should be concerned if one or more teeth feel loose. If you have not suffered an injury, tooth decay could be the cause of loose teeth. Other leading causes of loose teeth include tooth infection and gum disease. Your dentist may have to take an x-ray to determine the underlying cause of loose teeth.

You may notice a loose tooth after an injury. For instance, you could be participating in a sporting activity, and a ball lands on your teeth. Teeth injuries could also result from falls and other forms of accidents. Loose teeth resulting from injuries are likely to be accompanied by other signs like intense pain. If you’re involved in an accident and hurt your teeth, you should seek immediate dental care. You should undergo a dental check-up even if you feel safe and sound.

Your tooth may loosen when your gums start pulling away from the teeth, often known as receding gums. Receding gums is a sign of advanced gum disease. You can tell you have receding gums if your teeth appear longer than normal. Gum disease makes you susceptible to other medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. You should seek immediate dental care to prevent gum disease from progressing and affecting other aspects of your health.

Red, Inflamed, or Bleeding Gums

Almost everyone experiences a little bit of bleeding while flossing or brushing the teeth. However, bleeding while brushing or flossing could be a sign of an underlying dental condition. Therefore, it is crucial to be on the lookout. Slight bleeding on the gums may not constitute a dental emergency. However, you should be quick to seek medical care if the bleeding is extensive.

You require emergency dental attention if your gums are red, swollen, or bleeding. Bleeding gums is the earliest sign of gingivitis or gum disease. At times, the bleeding could be accompanied by a foul smell from the mouth. If not treated on time, gum disease could have irreversible consequences on your gums and your teeth.

Other common signs of gum disease are swelling and aching. Seeking immediate treatment for gum disease is essential because it will prevent the condition from progressing. If the gum disease progresses too much, the dentist may not be able to restore your teeth to their original state. Seeking immediate dental care will give the dentist ample time to develop an ideal treatment strategy.

At its early stage, gum disease is easy to treat and reverse. Dentists treat early forms of gum disease thorough dental cleaning. However, advanced gum disease may require surgery to treat. Other medical conditions may reveal themselves through the gum. For instance, early signs of oral cancer may manifest on your gums. Therefore, seeking immediate dental care enables the dentist to uncover the underlying cause of gum illness. Other conditions may manifest through bleeding gums. They include diabetes and leukemia. People with diabetes have a high glucose level in the saliva, making them more susceptible to gum disease. Therefore, you should never overlook bleeding or swollen gums.

A Swelling in the Mouth or Jaw

You should seek emergency dental care if you have a swelling on your mouth, gums, or jaws. Swelling could be a sign of infection and should not be overlooked. If left untreated, certain infections in the mouth could be life-threatening. Bumps may develop on your face, gums, or your lymph nodes. If you leave an infection untreated, the infection could enter your bloodstream and have devastating consequences. You should contact a dentist immediately if you notice a swelling in your mouth. You should also disclose all the symptoms accompanying the swelling to enable the dentist to identify its exact cause.

If you have a swollen jaw, you may experience pain when opening and closing your mouth or chewing food. You may have a swollen jaw if you have a salivary gland infection. Although the salivary gland infection is very severe, it is not a common infection.

Pain in the jaw could also be a sign of temporomandibular disorder commonly abbreviated as TMD. Dentists do not know the clear cause of TMD. However, this condition may develop due to the temporomandibular joint’s problems or jaw muscles’ issues. If you experience injuries on your jaw or your head’s muscles, you may develop a TMD. Other factors that could lead to TMD include arthritis in the joint, clenching or grinding your teeth, and stress.

You could be suffering from TMD if you experience pain while opening your mouth. You may have a tired feeling on your face and have problems while chewing your food. Your jaw may feel locked and produce a grating, popping, or clicking sound whenever you move it. You may also develop swelling on the side of your face. You should seek immediate dental care if you experience the outlined symptoms.

A Growth or Sore in the Mouth

Seek immediate dental care if you have a growth or a sore in the mouth. You should particularly seek dental treatment if the sore is persistent and does not go away. A constant growth or sore in the mouth could be a sign of oral cancer. Dentists use advanced devices to identify conditions that may be hard to identify using the naked eye. Every year, thousands of Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Your dentist could be your first line of defense by determining the condition early and initiating treatment.

You could also develop canker sores in your mouth. Canker sores are not a sign of oral cancer. Any person may develop a canker sore at some point in their lives. You don’t have to worry too much about a canker sore. However, if a canker sore becomes infected, you should seek immediate dental treatment to curb the infection.

You should contact your dentist immediately if you notice pus in your mouth. The collection of pus in the mouth is a sign of infection. If the infection is not treated on time, it could spread to other parts of the body and turn out to be fatal. Some of the methods a dentist adopts to handle an infection include antibiotic treatment, draining the infection, and root canal treatment.

You Have a Metal Taste in Your Mouth

You should seek immediate dental care if you notice a metallic taste in your mouth. One of the reasons why your mouth may taste like metal is if your dental filling is loose or has come off. It is crucial to seek immediate medical care because a loose filling leaves your tooth prone to infections and further develop dental cavities. You should seek immediate dental care and have a dentist replace the old filling and clear out any bacteria or infection present. 

A dental filling could become loose due to several reasons. For instance, dental filling could become loose due to wear. Dental fillings do not last forever. If a dental filling is old and you bite on a hard item, the filling might come off. You could also have developed decay beneath your tooth, and this could make the dental filling weak and eventually make it come off. 

The emergency dentist will remove the old metal filling and replace it with a new filling. To create space for the new filling, the dentist will clean the affected tooth and remove any decay. You should always treat a loose filling as an emergency to avoid creating room for bacteria to accumulate.  If you wait too long before seeking treatment for a loose dental filling, you may end up requiring a root canal treatment. 

Persistent Headaches

Throbbing and persistent headaches could be a sign you require emergency dental care. It is common for people to experience tension headaches when they have underlying dental problems. You may develop a severe headache if you have a bad bite resulting in the build-up of tension in the area between your face and the jaw. Other factors that could lead to a headache include temporomandibular disorder and Bruxism. Bruxism refers to excessive jaw clenching and teeth grinding.

Bruxism may seem like a harmless habit often triggered by stress, misaligned teeth, or particular medication. However, if not addressed, bruxism could result in short-term or permanent damage to your teeth and jaws. After occurring, the damage is irreversible. Therefore, it’s important to address signs of bruxism immediately when you notice them. Headache is often the first sign of tooth grinding.  Headaches occur due to the force resulting from clenching the jaw and excessive pressure on the jaw. Effects of tooth grinding include tooth wear, worn enamel or fractured teeth, receding gums, TMD, and insomnia.

Extreme Tooth Sensitivity

Extreme tooth sensitivity could be a sign of a dental emergency. You may notice the extreme tooth sensitivity when you eat hot, spicy, or cold foods. Some of the common causes of extreme tooth sensitivity include tooth decay. Tooth decay could expose the nerves inside your teeth and lead to tooth sensitivity. You may also experience extreme tooth sensitivity if your teeth have fractures. Gum recession could also expose the dentin that covers your teeth’ surface and lead to severe tooth sensitivity. 

Extreme tooth grinding or bruxism could also lead to inflammation of the internal nerve tissue. An emergency dentist will treat the underlying cause of tooth sensitivity. Your dentist may do a filling on the affected area or do a gum treatment to treat tooth sensitivity.

A Persistent Bad Breath

You might have a dental emergency if you have a persistent bad breath. Bad breath is not just embarrassing but could also be a sign of an underlying dental problem. Other underlying causes of bad breath are cancer, metabolic disorders, acid reflux, and diabetes. It is crucial to seek emergency dental treatment to rule out other causes of bad breath.

Find an Emergency Dentist Near Me

Emergency dental services offer instant relief from discomfort like extreme pain and sensitivity and prevent dental issues from progressing. Ignoring a dental emergency could escalate the problem and eventually lead to tooth loss. Any dental problem that requires immediate treatment to stop the pain, bleeding, or save your tooth is a dental emergency. All severe dental conditions that are life-threatening also qualify as dental emergencies. If you are experiencing a dental emergency, Tarzana Dental Care will offer effective treatment services. Contact us at 818-708-3232 and speak to one of our dentists.