Never ignore a dental emergency of any sort, as quick and proper treatment of these emergencies can reduce the risk of getting an oral infection and losing a tooth. Many dental emergencies are also very painful, and that pain isn't likely to subside without proper treatment. To ensure that you're receiving emergency dental treatment when needed, note some important information about common dental problems that require quick treatment.
What is an abscessed tooth?
An abscess refers to an infection below the tooth enamel or somewhere between the tooth and the gum. This condition can be very painful; if left untreated, that infection could also spread to another area of the body and then continue to grow. The abscess itself can also cause damage to the tooth root and to the gums, even risking tooth loss. If you feel consistent pain in any area of the gums, and if this pain is accompanied by a pimple-like bump along the gum line, have this checked by an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
What is a dry socket?
If you've lost a tooth or had one extracted, a blood clot should form over the exposed gum and bone. If it doesn't, this causes what is called a dry socket, an exposed area of gum. This area can be very sensitive to air and to anything you eat or drink. It can also increase the risk of gum infection, as this exposed part of the gum can harbour germs and bacteria. If you notice pain in the area of a missing or extracted tooth, and especially if you can feel a pronounced pocket in the gum line, see an emergency dentist to have this area covered or stitched closed.
Why see an emergency dentist for soft tissue injuries?
Soft tissue injuries, meaning those of the lips, tongue or gums, can be very serious; any type of opening in the soft tissue can increase your risk of an oral infection, as germs and bacteria may settle into those cut areas. A severe injury can also cause damage to the bones and nerves of the teeth so that they become loose or suffer chips and cracks. If left untreated, these teeth may eventually develop an abscess, as mentioned above, and may be at risk of falling out. A very minor injury may heal on its own, but any severe cut to the soft tissue should be treated by an emergency dentist as quickly as possible.