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Is a Dental Infection Considered a Dental Emergency?

January 3, 2022

Dental emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere. Although we cannot entirely stop dental emergencies, we can prevent them by knowing what to do experiencing one. While many of us might think that dental emergencies mainly arise from trauma or injury, an untreated dental infection may also constitute a dental emergency in this article. Dr. Cicero explains what type of dental swellings lead to a dental emergency and how to treat them. But, before that, we must first understand what constitutes a dental emergency.

When do Dental Infections Constitute an Emergency?

While most dental infections progress slowly and do not require immediate intervention, some diseases develop rapidly and need to be looked after immediately. Otherwise, they may prove life-threatening. Besides, long-stranding dental infections can also lead to dental or systemic complications that need urgent intervention.

Dental Abscess

A common dental infection that may constitute a dental emergency is a tooth abscess. According to the American Dental Association, an abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms around a tooth due to tooth decay, tooth fracture, or underlying gum disease. Initially, an abscess remains localized to the oral cavity. However, over time, the bacteria inside the abscess enter the bloodstream and can cause serious, even life-threatening, complications of other body organs, including the heart, lungs, and brain.

Common symptoms of a dental abscess include swelling, redness, and tenderness around the region. However, if signs of systemic infection are observed, such as high-grade fever, tiredness, or altered mental status, you should seek immediate medical or dental treatment.

Facial Swellings

An infection of the salivary glands can result in their enlargement, besides causing systemic problems like fever, fatigue, and pain. If left untreated, the swelling becomes so large, especially when salivary glands on either side are involved, that it starts to compress the airway and creates difficulty in breathing. When this happens, it constitutes a dental emergency, and you should seek dental help without delay.

Besides, if there is an inflammation of the fascial spaces of the head and neck region, the infection may travel to the other body systems, including the circulatory and nervous systems, and cause life-endangering medical complications.

Most dental infections and swellings are self-healing or can be treated by improving oral hygiene maintenance. However, if you feel that swelling or infection has not healed after a few days, you should not take it lightly and visit us at Carefree Dentistry right away; Dr. Cicero will Make sure that your problem is resolved within 24 hours. If you experience an emergency out of business hours, call our emergency hotline, and we will respond right away.