A: I would say if you have a fever of 101° or you have any trouble breathing, then definitely head to the emergency room. That’s where I’m going to send you.
But, if it’s just swelling, you haven’t slept well that night, with no fever or even a small fever but you can breathe fine, then come see me. Let me take care of you and keep you from having to go to the emergency room.
When you think of reasons for emergency dentistry in San Antonio, there are a few common ones that come to mind.
- Knocked-out teeth
- Severe toothache
- Severely swollen gums
Of course, the one that always pops up at number one on everyone’s list is a knocked-out tooth. After all, not only is the whole ordeal painful, but it also affects your smile. Your smile is one of the most non-verbal communication tools you have. Who doesn’t want to have a picture-perfect smile to show off?
There’s Another Reason To Seek Emergency Dentistry In San Antonio
However, having a tooth knocked out isn’t the only way you can lose a tooth. It’s also not the only reason you would see emergency dentistry in San Antonio.
If you have a tooth that is infected and has progressed, it can turn into a condition known as an abscess. While the word doesn’t sound as traumatic as “knocked-out tooth”, it can turn traumatic very quickly. Therefore, it makes sense that it very well could be even more urgent than a knocked-out tooth.
If it’s not dealt with quickly, the infection that resides in an abscess can spread throughout your body rather quickly. This typically leads to a possibly fatal condition called sepsis, which is an infection of the blood.
Since the blood travels quickly to all your vital organs and they rely on that bloodstream—sepsis can kill you.
What Is A Tooth Abscess?
So what is this condition that can lead to all these serious problems? A tooth abscess is a pocket of puss that develops due to a bacterial infection in the tooth. Usually, they are the consequence of a cavity that’s been left untreated. They can occur in different areas of the tooth and are full of infectious microorganisms that can infect the blood. That alone is reason enough to seek emergency dentistry in San Antonio.
One sure sign of a tooth abscess is a bump that develops on your gum. It will have a spongy type texture and oozes pus when pressure is applied. If this is something you are experiencing right now, stop reading and book an appointment with us for emergency dentistry in San Antonio.
Now, one might think that if the pus is draining out, then all should be cured since it’s exiting the gum. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The abscess is simply the result of a deeper issue, and that root cause needs to be addressed. The sooner you see a dentist to correct the issue the better your chances will be for an easy fix.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Tooth Infection?
While you can’t exactly self-diagnose a tooth abscess, the symptoms it presents are pretty noticeable and include:
- Severe, toothache that throbs and may present pain in the ear, neck, or jaw that persists
- Painful chewing or biting
- Sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink
- Swollen lymph nodes, cheek, or face
- Foul-smelling discharge in the mouth that tastes salty, followed by relief of pain
- Difficult to swallow or breathe
If you’re experiencing these symptoms and running a high fever with labored breathing, go to the nearest ER right away. It’s best to avoid those ER box clinics, actually go to the nearest ER connected to a hospital.
They will be the best equipped to handle this urgent situation efficiently and properly. Even a feeling of pain relief is not a positive sign. It normally means the abscess has ruptured which can quickly spread the infection to your bloodstream.
That is what leads to the condition, sepsis that we mentioned earlier. Those with compromised immune systems are most vulnerable to the condition.
How Dentists Treat An Abscess
When you seek care for a tooth abscess, the first line of treatment is to drain it of the infection to save your tooth. The procedures are routine and are very safe and include the following:
- Draining the abscess: After anesthesia is applied, a minor incision is made in the abscess. Suction is used to drain all the fluid out.
- Root canal: This is the best option to try and save your tooth. It involves drilling into the tooth to clean the root canals and the pulp. Once complete, a filling or a crown is applied. Either way, your tooth is saved and doesn’t look or feel any different than the rest of your teeth.
- Tooth extraction: Unfortunately, if the tooth is beyond saving, the dentist is forced to extract the tooth. Once that is complete, your best option is to replace the tooth with a dental implant and restorative crown.
After the procedure, you will likely be put on antibiotics to stave off any chance of infection that might have spread.
Preventing Tooth Abscess
No one wants to suddenly have to look for emergency dentistry in San Antonio because of an abscess. The best way to avoid this situation is to be on top of your oral hygiene routine. This includes visiting your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup.
At home you can practice good oral hygiene by doing the following:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss once or twice daily
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash such as Closys, twice a day
- Rinse your mouth with water after acidic or sugary drinks
- Replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3 months
- If anything is not right with your teeth or gums, see your dentist ASAP, don’t wait
One other thing to consider in preventing tooth abscesses is to alter your diet. A healthy diet that favors leafy greens, healthy fats, moderate carb intake, and cuts out sweets is ideal.
Even if you can’t completely cut sweets out, at least try to get your sugar intake from natural sources such as apples, oranges, bananas, and the like. Refined sugar is not only bad for your health but can wreak havoc on your teeth.
Also, watch your hydration, you need to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, based on your weight. A dry mouth can lead to bacterial infections that cause cavities, which, if left untreated, you guessed it—can turn into an abscess.
If You Need Emergency Dentistry In San Antonio
If you’re dealing with tooth pain, or you just put off going to the dentist for too long and now have an emergency, call us. We’re happy to help you get through whatever is going on. You can even book your appointment online.