It’s easy to know when you’re having a dental emergency if something hurts, but there are many other signs and symptoms that can indicate a serious problem. Let’s go through some of the symptoms that almost always warrant immediate treatment. The last thing you want to do is neglect what appears to be a minor issue but ends up costing you your tooth. Here are five examples of instances where you should reach out to an emergency dentist right away.
1. A broken tooth
One of the most common emergencies we see involves a broken tooth. You would think that in all scenarios this is excruciatingly painful. However, patients often come not knowing that their tooth may be breaking in half. So, if pain isn’t a symptom, how can you tell your tooth is cracked? A strong indicator is an occasional fleeting discomfort while chewing, or if you suddenly feel a piece of your tooth moving. The appearance of a sharp edge is also an indication that a tooth fragment may have broken off exposing a point that will irritate your tongue and cheek if left untreated. Until you see an emergency dentist, try to avoid chewing anything hard on the affected side to prevent further damage. In extreme situations, if your whole tooth was the victim of an accident, you should immediately place it in a cup of milk until you can obtain emergency dental care. This process can increase the chances of saving and reinserting the tooth.
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Toothaches that appear dull may seem insignificant, but they can be a sign of a serious underlying problem. If you can’t explain a persistent toothache, especially if it appears to be coming from the jaw area, then it’s a good idea to seek care. You may have gum disease, or worse, an infected tooth. If left untreated, this condition can turn into an abscess, which is an infection that could travel to neighboring parts of the face. Inspecting the gums for a bump resembling a pimple can verify that there is an infection, and simultaneously you must be aware of other symptoms such as a fever, facial swelling, and/or a bad taste. Experiencing these issues requires urgent medical attention.
3. Excessive gum bleeding
People generally panic at the sight of blood from their gums. It’s not abnormal, especially when you floss, or a dentist has diagnosed you with gum disease. However, pay attention to the bleeding—if it becomes excessive and is accompanied by swelling and pain, it constitutes a dental emergency. This could mean that you have severe periodontal disease, or something lodged deep in your gums, which a dentist must investigate. If something is stuck between your teeth, and dental floss does not do the trick, then it's best to visit the dentist to have it removed. It would be best if you didn’t try to reach these lodged particles with sharp objects as you could scratch the tooth and cause severe or irreparable damage.
4. A swollen jaw or mouth
A swollen jaw and mouth could be a manifestation of several issues. As we’ve already pointed out, it might indicate gum disease or an infected tooth. However, swelling in the jaw could also be the result of a swollen lymph node or a growth in the mouth. In rare cases, it could be the result of cancer. So, if you have unexplained swelling, especially if it’s not accompanied by pain, you should consider it a dental emergency.
5. Issues with old fillings or crowns
If you have old fillings or crowns, they may fall out if it’s been a while. Feeling an open cavity in your tooth is an indication that a restoration has come out, and left untreated, it can be a breeding ground for cavities. Neglecting this issue can result in more significant problems requiring a root canal, or worse, an extraction. To avoid these unexpected scenarios, it’s advisable to seek the services of an emergency dentist.
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Experiencing any abnormality with your teeth and gums, whether they seem significant or not, warrants a visit to the dentist. Ignoring an issue, even if it appears to be small, and attempting to treat it with home remedies, isn’t a long-term solution. We always advise that you find the root cause by seeking an expert’s opinion and going to an emergency dentist. If you’re experiencing any oral discomfort, please get in touch with our office right away.
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I had an excellent experience at doctor Nargiz l. Zadeh, DMD’s office today. The dentist's care and professionalism made me feel that I was in a safe place. Very friendly and professional staff. I truly appreciate the service that I receive today as a first timer at this medical office.