Is a Tooth Abscess an Emergency?

January 10, 2020

Have you ever experienced the discomfort of a dental abscess in your mouth? It may initially seem like a minor inconvenience, just a small pus-filled sac nestled in your gums, causing occasional mild pain. But can it truly be considered a dental emergency?

While dental abscesses may appear innocuous, they harbor a significant health risk that shouldn't be underestimated, and often necessitate a prompt visit to your emergency dentist. Of course, some might consider the quick fix of popping the abscess to drain the pus as a solution, but this isn't a universal remedy.

In this article, we'll delve into the question of whether a tooth abscess constitutes a dental emergency in Franklin and what steps to take if you find yourself facing one. Let's explore this topic further.

When Is a Tooth Abscess an Emergency?

A dental abscess occurs when harmful bacteria infiltrate the teeth and gums. These microscopic invaders trigger a response from white blood cells, which gather to combat the infection and ultimately lead to the formation of a pus-filled pocket on the gums, creating what is known as an abscess. But when is a tooth abscess an emergency? Here are some common signs to look out for:

Severe Pain 

A dental abscess is an emergency when it’s accompanied by severe pain in the gum and taking painkillers doesn’t help. This is a sure sign that your dental abscess requires emergency dental attention to relieve the pain and stop the abscess from spreading. Abscess entering the bloodstream could lead to septic shock, which is sometimes fatal.

Swelling in the Face, Neck, and Ear

You should also see a dentist emergency when the dental abscess causes swelling in the cheeks and neck. Swelling indicates that the dental abscess might have spread to these areas and triggered inflammatory swelling. 

Unlike toothaches or fractured teeth, applying an ice pack on the swollen area will only offer temporary relief and the swelling will flare up once you stop applying the ice pack. Your best bet is to see a dentist in Franklin to address the abscess and stop it from spreading further. 

Difficulty Breathing and Swallowing

Swelling caused by a dental abscess can constrict the airways, making breathing difficult. The same can happen in the throat, which disrupts swallowing. Seeking emergency dental care will open up these passageways so you can swallow and breathe easily.

What Are the Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess?

Symptoms of a tooth abscess can vary from mild to severe. Some of the common symptoms of a dental abscess include:

  • Severe toothache and pain in the gums
  • Bad taste and smell in the mouth
  • Visible swelling on the gum (pus pocket)
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks

When Should I Seek Emergency Care

Dental abscesses don’t go away on their own and neglecting treatment worsens the problem. Seek emergency treatment the moment you notice the following symptoms.

  • Fever and chills
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Trouble swallowing and chewing
  • Swollen face and cheeks
  • Nausea and vomiting

Let Us Handle Your Dental Emergencies

What seems like a benign dental abscess could quickly escalate into a life-threatening condition. To be safe, contact your emergency dentist if you notice any symptoms of a far-advanced tooth abscess. Your early action could save your life.

Our team of emergency dentists here at Franklin Dental Arts works 24 hours every day to ensure you get the emergency dental service you deserve. Contact us for prompt dental attention, regardless of the time and nature of your emergency.

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