When you think of a dental emergency, you may think of a missing tooth or excessive bleeding. These are events that might quickly alarm us into going to the dentist. However, a knocked-out tooth and bleeding are not the only reasons you may need an emergency dentist.
If you experience severe pain, you should contact your doctor. With pain, you may hesitate to seek medical attention if you can’t point to any specific thing wrong. Yet, you shouldn’t endure significant pain. It may be an indicator that something is very wrong.
What Can Cause Pain?
There are several reasons why you can feel extreme pain—all of which need medical attention.
If you have recently had a tooth extraction, you can potentially develop a condition known as “dry socket.” After your surgery, your dentist will tell you to avoid drinking from a straw. This isn’t because you will feel pain from the actual motion. You shouldn’t drink from a straw because it can pull the blood clot out of your extraction site.
A blood clot will form to stop the bleeding after your extraction. If the blood clot becomes dislodged, you can experience extreme pain. When the socket is “dry,” it exposes the nerves in your jaw, causing severe pain.
It is essential that you call your doctor immediately so that they can perform an intervention. They can provide you with pain medication and instruct you on how to avoid infection.
Infection or Abscess
Pain can also be an indicator of an infection or abscess. An infection can occur for numerous reasons. For example, a large cavity, a broken tooth, inflamed gums, or a soft tissue scratch can all result in an infection. Infections require medical intervention because they can cause serious health problems.
For instance, if you have an advanced cavity, the decay can get into your nerves, blood vessels, or jawbone. Infections can spread throughout the body, so an infection in a tooth can travel through the bloodstream.
A bacterial infection can cause an abscess, which is a pocket of pus. An abscess can form anywhere near the tooth or the tooth root. You can feel a constant throbbing pain in your tooth that may radiate to your jaw, neck, or ear. Additionally, you can develop a fever with an infection or an abscess. Also, you may have some swelling or inflammation near the infected area.
If you contact your dentist, they will likely drain the abscess to get rid of the infection. Then, they may recommend taking antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas. This may be a situation where you may need a root canal in order to relieve the pain and infection.
For a root canal, a dentist will drill into your tooth to reach and remove the infection. Then, they will fill the empty space with a dental filling or cap it with a crown. Typically, your dentist will only pull the tooth if it cannot be saved.