Proper dental hygiene is vital to maintaining optimal oral health.
Your mouth is an important part of your body’s digestive system. The mouth is comprised of teeth, gums, salivary glands, upper/lower jaws, and other components.
A general dentist is trained to provide emergency dental services and assist with preventative care. Patients with any mouth-related trauma, infection, or pain may be experiencing a serious health issue.
This guide will help you identify severe cases that require emergency dental services from a dentist.
Cases That Require Emergency Dental Services
1. Bleeding Gums
Achy or swollen gums are highly unusual. Inflammation of the gums is caused by plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky substance that coats your teeth with harmful bacteria. The bacteria feed on the sugars contained in food and produces a corrosive acid that leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
Plaque buildup is a daily occurrence that is removed by brushing and flossing teeth. When plaque hardens it becomes tartar, and tartar cannot be easily removed through brushing or flossing. Plaque and tartar irritate gum tissue making it swollen, red, and inflamed.
The inflammation causes bloody gums and teeth. Inflammation is also one of the earliest signs of gingivitis. Gingivitis is a form of periodontitis, which is the breakdown of gums and bones caused by bacterial infection.
A general dentist can treat gingivitis because it is reversible. However, you don’t want your oral health to get to that level. Contact a general dentist as soon as you notice inflammation or bleeding of the gums.
2. Swollen Jaws
We use our jaws to help us chew and speak. A swollen jaw is a medical problem that is caused by salivary gland infection. A salivary gland infection is a form of bacterial infection, similar to periodontitis. Saliva is a natural substance produced by your body to help the digestive system break down food and remove bacteria.
The human mouth has three salivary glands: parotid (inside the cheek), submandibular (along the jawline), and sublingual (under the tongue).
At times, these glands reduce or stop producing saliva when their ducts become blocked. Without a constant flow of saliva, the mouth becomes more susceptible to bacterial infections such as streptococcus viridans (strep throat) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Chronic diseases such as herpes and HIV also cause salivary gland blockages. Symptoms of a salivary gland infection include dry mouth, difficulty chewing, swelling along the jawline, fever/chills, or pus.
3. Numbness of the Teeth or Mouth
A numb tooth should not be taken lightly. Teeth are filled with nerve endings and blood vessels that pump nutrients into each tooth. Numbness is a sign of tooth decay which could lead to a dead tooth. A dead tooth has to be treated immediately to prevent the spread of disease.
General dentists perform root canals to remove dead tooth pulp (dentin) from the mouth. The dentin is the interior of the tooth where the infection is located. Then, the doctor uses a filling to cap the tooth. If the tooth can not be saved, the dentist completely removes the tooth and replaces it with a tooth implant.
4. Severe Toothaches
Toothaches are a common reason for a dentist visit, but severe toothaches require immediate medical attention. Teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold foods are probably in need of some dental care. Likewise, headaches and jaw pain are also reasons for concern. A toothache could be a sign of a cavity, gingivitis, periodontitis, or salivary gland infection.
5. Dental Abscess
Earlier, we listed pus as a symptom of infection. It is important to note that pus can also be a symptom of another issue called a dental abscess. An abscess is the result of a bacterial infection which forms a pocket of pus near the infected tooth.
A periapical abscess forms at the tip of the tooth’s root. A periodontal abscess affects the gums surrounding the tooth. To treat the abscess, a general dentist must perform a root canal.
Extreme cases require the extraction of the tooth from the mouth. Dental abscesses cause these symptoms: fever, swelling of the face or cheek, severe toothaches, foul aftertaste or smell, swollen lymph nodes near the jaw or neck.
6. Loose Teeth
When children’s bodies develop, they start to lose their baby teeth around 6 or 7 years old. The mouth needs to make space for the adult teeth to form and grow. By the time a person is 21, they should have all of their adult teeth including molars.
As an adult, loose teeth aren’t normal. Your body is no longer shedding baby teeth to make room for new ones. A loose tooth is a sign of tooth trauma that may be caused by nerve or jaw damage.
The root of the tooth, located at its base near the gum, is where the nerve endings live. Trauma to the nerve endings caused by force or infection results in the dislodging of the tooth.
Dislodged teeth don’t always have to be extracted. General dentists are trained to reposition the tooth and set up splints if they can be saved. Just like bone, teeth can be fractured or broken due to trauma. A splint will help set the tooth in place and help it re-settle.
When teeth are past the point of saving, a root canal must be performed. Either way, the only person that can determine the extent of damage is a general dentist so it’s imperative to see one immediately if you notice wiggling teeth.
Emergency Dental Services at Ideal Dentistry, PLLC
For more than 15 years, our family-owned practice has been providing emergency dental services to local residents. Our hard-working staff includes Dr. Daniel Allen, a trained implant and family dentist.
We perform dental cleanings, implants, extractions, dentures and other services for patients. We’re conveniently open from 9-5 pm during the week as well as Saturdays by appointment.
If you have experienced tooth trauma and believe you need emergency dental services, please contact us as soon as possible. We can be reached by phone or email. Our team will be happy to answer any of your questions regarding emergency dental services and treatment.