Have a toothache or cavities? While these issues may be troublesome, they aren’t necessarily a dental emergency. Knowing when you actually need immediate treatment could save you time and money.

About 91 percent of American adults have dental cavities. By age 65, over 96 percent have tooth decay. These problems may cause severe pain and disrupt your daily activities.

Over time, poor oral health may contribute to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, infections, and even cancer. However, this doesn’t mean you need emergency care for every ache.

Before calling the dentist, make sure you need immediate attention. Here are four warning signs that your problem requires emergency dental care:

Dental Abscesses

Tooth abscesses indicate a bacterial infection. If left untreated, they may cause life-threatening complications and severe pain. The infection can spread to your brain, heart, neck, and other organs.

An emergency dentist will drain the pus and remove the infection. Afterward, he will prescribe antibiotics and painkillers.

Follow-up visits will be required to treat the cavities or tooth decay.

Knocked-Out Teeth

Knocked-out teeth are a common injury among athletes and sports enthusiasts. However, anyone can experience this problem when biting down on hard food, for example.

In fact, more than five million teeth are knocked out each year. The good news is that, in most cases, the teeth can be saved.

Just make sure you get help as soon as possible (within one hour or so). This type of injury requires emergency dental care.

The dentist will clean the socket and try to re-implant the tooth. If the surrounding bone was not fractured, the procedure has higher chances of success.

Persistent Swelling

Are your gums or cheeks swollen? Have a hard time chewing food or opening your mouth?

These symptoms might indicate a tooth or gum infection. They might also be the result of an injury.

Either way, you need emergency dental care. Depending on the root cause of your problem, the dentist will prescribe antibiotics and recommend appropriate treatment.

Mouth Injury

Moth injuries can involve the teeth, gums, tonsils, neck, and other body parts. Without proper treatment, they may cause bleeding and severe pain. Infection can occur too.

If you’ve injured your jaw or teeth, get to the dentist immediately. He will assess the damage and develop a treatment plan.

Where to Look for Emergency Dental Care

Not all dentists provide emergency dental care. Make sure you have a list of contacts at hand. This way, you’ll know who to call in case something goes wrong.

Go online and search for emergency dentists in your area. You can also ask your dentist or healthcare provider for references.

Dr. Kot DDS PC, for instance, offers dental emergency services as well as general and cosmetic dentistry procedures. Patients can opt for teeth whitening, digital X-rays, fillings, and more.

Final Thoughts

No matter how well you take care of your teeth, dental emergencies can happen. Car accidents, sports injuries, and improper chewing of food are common causes.

The longer you wait to receive dental treatment, the higher your risk of complications. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, contact a dentist right away.

Have you ever had a dental emergency? What happened at the dentist’s office? Share your experience below!

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