When a Tooth Infection Becomes an Emergency?didsburyadmin
Having a tooth infection can be a very unpleasant experience. In most cases, dental treatment is required to address the problem. However, some patients mistakenly believe it to be a mild toothache which will go away on its own, which can cause serious implications for their long-term oral health.
As a leading dental practice in Manchester, one of the questions we get asked is, ‘how do I know when a tooth infection becomes an emergency?’
In this article, we will outline what a tooth infection is, and share our recommendations on how to handle the uncomfortable symptoms it may bring.
What is a tooth infection?
The teeth or gums may become infected, due to a build-up of bacteria in the mouth.
If you have poor oral hygiene, then you are more likely to accumulate plaque on your teeth, which hardens into tartar. Plaque and tartar are filled with bacteria which can cause damage to your teeth and gum lines, the longer they are there.
A tooth infection can also occur due to:
- tooth decay or an untreated dental cavity.
- an injury to the mouth.
- previous dental work: for example, a teeth cleaning or root canal may cause bleeding and an opening, so bacteria can enter the body through this.
- through close contact with someone who has an oral bacterial infection (e.g. through sharing food, using their kitchen utensils, and even kissing.)
What are the signs of a tooth infection?
Usually, a tooth infection will bring on symptoms such as:
- Excruciating pain in the teeth or gums, which doesn’t go away after taking painkillers.
- Tooth pain that spreads to your ear, jaw and neck, on the same side as the affected tooth or gum.
- Tooth pain which worsens when chewing, drinking, or lying down.
- Stiff neck.
- Open, oozing sore on the gums.
- Swelling and redness of your gums, jaw and face.
- Difficulty moving the jaw or opening the mouth.
- Sensitivity to very hot or very cold food and drinks.
- High temperature.
- Bitter taste in the mouth or foul-smelling breath.
- Increased heart rate.
- General feeling of discomfort or illness.
What are signs that a tooth infection has spread to the body?
If your tooth infection spreads to other areas of your body, this can be dangerous. You should visit A&E as soon as possible if your tooth infection also brings additional symptoms such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swollen neck glands
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Blurry vision
How do I know when a tooth infection becomes an emergency?
When your symptoms don’t go away with painkillers, and they prevent you from going about your daily activities, that is when a tooth infection becomes an emergency.
If your toothache does not go away within 24 hours, we urge you not to wait a few days to see if your symptoms worsen. You should make an emergency dentist appointment as soon as you can, so that you can be examined as early as possible.
The earlier you get seen by a dental professional, the faster they will be able to help you overcome your problem, prevent further damage, and instruct you on the correct aftercare.
What might happen if I don’t get my tooth infection looked at?
If you don’t get a tooth infection treated by a dentist, then this can lead to serious complications for your health.
Ignoring gingivitis and bacterial infections of the teeth can lead to periodontitis, which damages the soft tissue and, without treatment, can destroy the bone that supports your teeth.
In addition, the roots of the upper teeth are located close to the sinuses, so a tooth infection can spread throughout the body and block your airways, making it difficult for you to breathe as you sleep.
An infected tooth can also affect your heart health: research has shown that people with gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and tooth infection are more likely to suffer cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke.
Hence, when a tooth infection becomes an emergency, you should always make it a priority to be checked out by a dentist as early as you can.
How will the emergency dentist treat a tooth infection?
Emergency dentists have the knowledge, equipment and experience on how to resolve any type of tooth infection.
You are in safe hands when you make an emergency dentist appointment. The dentist will be able to examine you thoroughly, take action to fix the issue, prescribe any medications, and offer you the best advice and aftercare.
Depending on how severe your tooth infection is, there are different treatments available. Your dentist will offer you the most appropriate treatment to reduce your pain and discomfort and get rid of the bacteria that caused the infection.
The emergency dentist can:
- Stop any excessive bleeding.
- Treat any tooth infections.
- Extract a tooth.
- Minimise any long-term damage to the teeth, gum, or mouth.
- Offer the appropriate care and advice if you have excessive tooth pain, facial swelling, gum disease or tooth decay.
- Carry out incision and drainage or emergency root canal treatment if you have a dental abscess.
- Carry out a hygiene treatment, which includes plaque removal, descaling, gum health checks, and removal of calculus above the gums.
- Prescribe antibiotics to treat a dental abscess or tooth infection.
- Offer an emergency filling.
- Re-insert an avulsed tooth, knocked-out tooth, or dislodged crown.
- Fix a chipped or broken tooth.
- Refer you for further examinations or treatment, if the problem is more serious.
Where can I get an emergency dental appointment?
Emergency Dental Care at Didsbury Dental Practice
Our team of dental professionals can provide treatment for any type of dental emergency: from severe toothache and tooth infections to broken teeth, lost fillings or gum inflammation.
Didsbury Dental Practice has got you covered, at any time of day or night. Dental emergencies can be very painful, so we offer out-of-hours treatment because we know that dental problems don’t always stick to 9.00 am to 12.00 am.
To book an emergency appointment with us, it is not necessary for you to be an existing patient at our practice. If you experience a dental emergency, simply call our dental emergency helpline on 0161 413 2509, or walk into our dental practice, and we will aim to see you as soon as possible.
What are home remedies I can use to deal with a tooth infection?
If you have a tooth infection, always follow the advice of your dentist.
Follow these at-home methods to ease swelling, pain and discomfort:
- Rinse your mouth with saltwater, taking care not to swallow. Saltwater rinses kill bacteria in the mouth, allowing the mouth to become less inflamed and healthier. (Children should never do this, however.)
- Apply a cold compress, or ice cubes, to your cheek or jaw, to ease swelling.
- Take an over-the-counter medication, exactly as directed on the packet instructions.
- Dip a cotton ball or cotton bud in clove oil, tea tree oil, or lavender oil, and gently apply it to the affected area in your mouth; these essential oils can help alleviate pain and promote healing.
- Rinse your mouth with peppermint tea. You can make the tea by pouring boiling water over dried peppermint leaves, or a peppermint tea bag. When you rinse, make sure that the tea is at a lukewarm or cool temperature, and not boiling hot, as it is dangerous to rinse with scalding hot water.
- It may not sound appetizing, but chewing on an onion may bring you relief. Onions are a natural antiseptic and can effectively eliminate germs in the mouth.
Read more articles like this
To learn more about emergency dentists and dealing with a tooth infection, click here to read our blog articles on:
- What Can Be Considered as a Tooth Emergency?
- Are Dental Emergencies Covered by the NHS?
- Why You Should Deal With a Dental Emergency Quickly
- Will Emergency Dentist Take Tooth Out?
- What Treatments Can Emergency Dentists Do?
- Can Emergency Dentist Prescribe Antibiotics?
- How Quickly Should I Make an Appointment When I Have a Toothache?
- How Urgent Is a Tooth Infection?
- Can the Hospital Help With a Tooth Infection?
- Can GP Help With Tooth Infection?
- How Much is an Emergency Dentist?
- Can I Go to A&E With a Tooth Problem?
About Didsbury Dental Practice
We are a 24-hour emergency dentist in South Manchester. Our team is highly experienced, and we deliver a level of patient comfort like no other dental practice. Every patient is treated with the most sophisticated care in a truly relaxed atmosphere.
In addition, all our staff are multi-lingual. Languages spoken at our dental practice include German, French, Polish, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.
If you need an emergency appointment, call our dental emergency helpline on 0161 413 2835, or walk into our practice and we will aim to see you as soon as possible.
To learn more about Didsbury Dental Practice, visit our website here.
Check out our blog to read more articles on all things dental health.
We hope you are now better equipped to handle when a tooth infection becomes an emergency.