Some dental problems are more serious than others. A slight ache can be treated at home with aspirin until you can see your usual dentist, but excruciating pain coming from a swollen jaw is something that needs attention from a trained dental professional right away. If you aren’t sure if you have an oral emergency on your hands, here are just four conditions that you shouldn't ignore.
This is the most common reason for making an emergency dental appointment. Maybe you have a cavity that needs filling, or maybe a tooth has become infected at the root and requires a root canal. Before you call up the dentist, try to pin down the pain. Find its localization point by gently poking around at your mouth and gums and identify whether it's throbbing, stinging or aching. The more that you can tell your emergency dentist, the quicker that they'll be able to diagnose what's wrong.
Loose or Broken Equipment
Braces can cause a lot of problems, but not all of them are emergencies. For example, loose bands and brackets can be covered with relief wax until your next appointment, so there's no need to rush to the clinic. On the other hand, if a wire has come loose and is threatening to scratch up the inside of your mouth, you might want to seek a professional fix sooner rather than later.
A dental abscess is a build-up of pus in conjunction with infected gums or teeth. It's quite painful, and if the infection spreads to other parts of the mouth or reaches the level of sepsis, it can become genuinely life-threatening. If you notice any pus around inflamed gums or broken teeth, don't hesitate to contact an emergency dentist. A dental abscess isn't something to be put off or ignored.
It can be hard to diagnose nerve damage if you aren't a trained dentist, but there are a few tell-tale signs. For example, if you have a painfully cracked tooth that's sensitive to colds and liquids, you've probably broken through the protective layers of enamel and dentin and reached the nerve underneath. If you have severe tooth pain for days that abruptly stops, your nerves might have died. These are both symptoms that you should take to your dentist right away.
No one likes taking time out of their day to visit the dentist, but if you're experiencing any of these problems, it's worth the effort of making the call. Left untreated, many dental problems will get worse and worse until you bite the bullet and have them fixed. You might as well skip the suffering and take care of them immediately, especially in cases where allowing the condition to worsen could lead to life-threatening illness.
By Rachelle Wilber
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