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Recognizing 5 Signs of a Dental Emergency

When it comes to your oral health, taking note of times when something feels “off” can mean the difference between saving a tooth and losing it. For those unexpected moments, our Largo, FL, emergency dentist offers walk-in appointments to address urgent needs promptly. Ultimately, our goal is three-pronged: be there for you when you’re experiencing a dental emergency, keep your natural teeth intact, and avoid extraction if at all possible.

Here are 5 signs of a dental emergency that you should never ignore and how we can treat your problem should it arise.

Generally, You Have a Dental Emergency If:

1. Severe Tooth Pain Has Lasted 1 to 2 Days 

A toothache can be debilitating, but how do you know it’s an emergency? If the pain is severe, persistent, and not easily alleviated by over-the-counter pain relievers, it could indicate a serious underlying issue like an infection or a dental abscess. Additionally, if you experience any of the below symptoms, it’s crucial to seek immediate care at our Largo, FL, dental office.

  • Fever 
  • Earache 
  • Swelling around the tooth 
  • Foul taste in your mouth
  • Red gums
  • Pain when you bite down
  • Swelling in the cheek or jaw 

These symptoms may signify an abscess, which can lead to more severe complications if not treated promptly with an emergency root canal. If the pain is unbearable after a full day and shows no signs of slowing down, please reach out to our office ASAP. Toothaches should not go untreated, especially if they last longer than 2 days. Do yourself a favor and get the help you need!

2. You’ve Knocked Out a Tooth

Out of all of the other dental emergencies, having a tooth knocked out is one of the clearest signs that you have a problem. Acting quickly, within 30 minutes, can potentially save the tooth. If you find yourself in this situation, pick up the tooth by the crown (the top part that shows when you smile, not the roots), and rinse it under water if it’s dirty. 

Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to reinsert it in the socket. If that’s not feasible, keep the tooth moist by placing it in a glass of milk or tucked in your mouth next to your cheek. Then, get to our office immediately. Remember, the sooner you act, the better the chances of saving the tooth.

3. Your Tooth Is Badly Cracked or Chipped 

If you crack or chip a tooth, it’s important to see Dr. Piper as soon as possible. Even if the damage seems minor, complications can develop, such as an infection or further deterioration of the tooth. If the crack is severe, you might experience pain, especially when eating or when exposed to hot/cold temperatures. 

To prevent the crack from worsening, avoid chewing on that side of your mouth and try to keep the area clean. Rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any debris and if there’s swelling, apply a cold compress to the cheek to minimize it. We may be able to fill the tooth but most often, a porcelain crown will work best to provide strength.

4. Your Gums Are Bleeding Excessively

While occasional gum bleeding can occur if you brush too hard or start a new flossing routine, excessive or unexplained bleeding may be a sign of a more serious condition. If the bleeding is accompanied by pain and swelling, it might indicate an infection or disease. Persistent bleeding after a dental procedure can also signify a complication. In these scenarios, it’s important to consult with our office immediately to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

5. You Have Unusual Oral Swelling

Swelling in the mouth can occur for a variety of reasons, including tooth infections, gum disease, or after a dental procedure. However, if you notice sudden or severe swelling, especially if it’s accompanied by pain or fever, it’s essential to seek out the opinion of Dr. Piper right away. This could be a sign of an infection spreading, which requires prompt treatment to prevent further health issues.

When in Doubt, See Dr. Piper

Educating yourself about these signs will help you react appropriately during a crisis. Our dental emergency dentist in Largo, FL, wants you to receive timely care, no matter the issue, so if you experience any of what is mentioned above, do not hesitate to request an appointment immediately. Call or text David W. Piper, DMD Family Dentistry today at (727) 548-7100!