Though they can be extremely painful, not every unexpected dental issue necessitates a visit to an emergency dentist. Whether you wake up in the middle of the night with tooth pain, or if you were in a sports accident that damaged a tooth, you may be wondering if you need immediate attention. Knowing when to…
When a Tooth Infection Is a Dental Emergency
A dental emergency is a situation that requires immediate dental care, such as a tooth infection. Every form of tooth infection needs to be checked and treated because of the associated risks. Oral infections are usually caused by bacteria and can spread easily through the oral cavity without intervention.
When is a tooth infection a dental emergency?
The terms "tooth infection" and "dental abscess" are often used interchangeably. Infections that start inside the tooth are known as endodontic infection and affect the blood vessels and nerves inside the tooth. This infection is generally caused by severe tooth decay, cracks, or dental trauma. If left untreated, the infection will worsen and spread to the tooth roots and other structures which support the tooth. A tooth infection is usually treated with root canal therapy, but if it is a severe case, tooth extraction is often the final resort.
Treating a tooth infection
Dental emergencies encompass issues that demand instant dental care, including a tooth infection or an abscess. When a bacterial infection sets in, a pocket of pus develops in the tooth, known as an abscess. The abscess may develop around the tooth roots or the gum tissues surrounding the infected tooth.
A tooth infection can cause debilitating pain and contribute to dental complications. There is a risk that the infection may spread to major organs like the brain, which can be fatal. The risk of infection increases once the pulp chamber of the tooth is compromised. The tooth pulp houses the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. Once the pulp chamber is exposed, perhaps due to decay or trauma, bacteria will invade the chamber, causing an infection.
Some of the signs of tooth infection that mean dental emergency care is required include severe pain, teeth sensitivity, gum inflammation, foul taste in the mouth, and pain when chewing. The dentist may recommend any of the following treatments:
- Draining: This is done when the infection has resulted in an abscess. The dentist will cut into the pus pocket and drain the pus. All the necrotic tissues will be removed completely, and the area disinfected
- Antibiotics: The dentist may also administer antibiotics to treat a tooth infection
- Root canal: This procedure is the most common method of treating an infected tooth. It entails cleaning out the tissues in the pulp chamber and disinfecting the area. The chamber is then sealed with a material called gutta-percha to prevent reinfection
- Extraction: If patients delay treatment for their tooth infection for too long, performing a root canal may not be enough to stop an infection, especially if it has spread to other parts of the oral cavity. Tooth extraction can help protect the patient’s health. A replacement option like dental implants can restore the appearance and function of the tooth
Don't delay care for a dental emergency
A tooth infection is a major oral problem that should be treated as a dental emergency and never overlooked. If you are experiencing signs of a tooth infection, contact our dental office immediately for treatment.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Emergency Dental Care in Tavares, FL.
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