While some dental issues need to be treated like emergencies, others can wait for normal business hours. How do you know the difference? Last month, we discussed 3 reasons why you might want to call in a dental emergency including broken, loose, or missing teeth and crowns. Today, we’re going to talk about swelling, gum injuries, and what to do if your teeth just ache! Read on to learn more.
Remember, South Anchorage Dental Center offers after hours emergency treatment! If you are unsure about the severity of your dental issue, feel free to call us at (907) 248-7275 during regular business hours or (907) 602-3136 after hours to talk to a professional!
Swollen Mouth or Jaw, Infection or Abscessed Tooth
If your mouth or jaw is swelling, you may be experiencing an infection or an abscessed tooth (caused by infection).
A bacterial infection of the mouth or jaw is something to be taken seriously as it can be life-threatening if not properly treated. An infection will be indicated by swelling of the face or pimple-like bumps around the teeth on the gums. Infections can also cause fevers, tenderness of the lymph nodes on the neck, hot/cold sensitivity, or even just a persistent toothache. If you think you may be experiencing an infection of the mouth or jaw, you should call your emergency dentist. These infections can advance and spread to other tissues in the body, so it is important to catch them early.
An abscessed tooth is a pimple-like bump located on the gums around the teeth that is caused by a bacterial infection. If you are in a lot of severe pain and you don’t know why–if you can’t talk, can’t breathe, and can’t eat or drink–you are probably experiencing an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is considered a dental emergency. First, call your emergency dentist. If you have time before you will see him or her, rinse your mouth several times with salt water to reduce your pain and draw the puss to the surface while you wait.
Tissue Injuries or Bleeding Gums
Mouth tissue injuries can take a variety of forms–puncture wounds, lacerations, tears–all of these are considered dental emergencies. Clean your injury with warm water and call your emergency dentist. You may take acetaminophen for the pain but do not take aspirin or ibuprofen as these are anticoagulants that can cause excess bleeding.
If your gums are bleeding but there is no visible injury, know that a little bleeding is normal if you are in the process of treating gum disease or excessive plaque with your dentist. However, if your bleeding will not stop or if it is accompanied by pain or swelling, call your emergency dentist. This can be a sign of a much larger issue.
The pain of exposed nerves can be excruciating, making it a dental emergency. Call your emergency dentist and chew a piece of sugarless gum before you go. Covering the exposed nerve with the gum may reduce your pain until you arrive. If your pain stops suddenly, be concerned–This may mean that you have incurred nerve damage so severe that you can no longer feel from that region of your mouth.
If your tooth is simply aching and you don’t know why, you can rinse the area with warm salt water and wait for normal business hours to visit your dental office. Your toothache is not an emergency unless it is accompanied by severe pain, symptoms of an abscess such as face or jaw swelling or bumps on your gums, or a high fever.
Many dental emergencies can be avoided through prevention! Be sure to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. For any dental emergency that may arise regardless, call your emergency dentist at South Anchorage Dental Center for treatment. We are available 24/7 to all Alaskans for after-hours care! Simply dial (907) 248-7275 during business hours or (907) 602-3136 after hours. We accept patients traveling into Anchorage from Bush Alaska.