There is no denying that the mouth is one of the most important parts of the body. From when we wake up in the morning and drink a glass of water to chewing every meal of the day, we constantly put our mouth and teeth to work each day. With all the fundamental ways we need to use our mouth, maintaining healthy oral hygiene is a must at any age.
One thing is for certain, making sure not to put off or neglect proper dental hygiene practices is the best way to avoid an emergency dentist visit.
What is a Dental Emergency?
Generally speaking, a dental emergency is when you have a serious issue, like a painfully fractured tooth, and immediately need to see the dentist. However, issues like a chipped tooth or minor toothache are not considered dental emergencies. To help determine if you’re experiencing a dental emergency, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the pain severe?
- Is there bleeding in your mouth?
- Is there swelling or bulging of your gums?
In some cases, severe pain, bleeding in the mouth, an abcess or swelling gums can indicate there is a serious and potentially life-threatening infection. Experiencing any of these symptoms may be a dental emergency and a dentist should be contacted immediately.
Why You Should Never Ignore a Toothache
At some point or another most of us are likely to experience some type of toothache. Whether you got hit in the mouth or have noticed pain in a certain spot when chewing, it’s important not to ignore the issue with the hope it will simply go away. Even if a toothache isn’t an emergency at first that doesn’t mean it can’t progress if left untreated.
If a persisting toothache is left untreated it can become infected. To avoid an infection from developing, never put off seeing a dentist for a toothache, especially if you’re experiencing any of these associated symptoms of a tooth infection:
- Throbbing pain in tooth, jawbone, ear or neck (will typically occur on the same side as the painful tooth)
- Sensitivity to hot, cold, or pressure in the mouth
- Swelling in the cheek or lymph nodes in the neck
- Bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
It’s crucial not to ignore the symptoms of a tooth infection, because if left untreated the infection can could continue to spread elsewhere in the body. If a tooth infection has begun to spread throughout the body, it can be life-threating, so be aware of signs that an infection is spreading, such as:
- Feeling unwell (headache, fatigue, dizziness)
- Fever, chills or skin flushing
- Dehydration (reduced urine frequency, dark urine color, confusion)
- Increased heart rate and breathing rate
- Chest pain or difficulty breathing
To avoid infection, it’s important to actively prevent a toothache from worsening. To help or prevent a toothache, always brush and floss your teeth twice a day, avoid a high sugar diet and having dry mouth. In other words, proper dental hygiene practices are the best way to avoid a dental emergency!