Luckily, orthodontic emergencies are fairly rare, and most oral problems can wait. However, if you’re not sure about whether your experience qualifies as an emergency, Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX can help. Today, we’re discussing signs that you need an emergency orthodontist.
When Do You Need an Emergency Orthodontist?
Extreme Tooth Pain
If you are experiencing mild tooth pain, it is probably time to schedule a routine dental checkup. Your oral health can be evaluated and cavities and gum conditions, such as gingivitis, can be identified. On the other hand, if you are experiencing constant or extreme tooth pain, it is probably time for an emergency orthodontist appointment. It is highly advisable to schedule routine checkups twice annually so problems can be caught quickly.
Also, you should schedule a regular checkup if you are experiencing mild or moderate tooth pain so it can be treated before it becomes an emergency. It can be easy to tell yourself that you don’t have time for an oral health checkup and the pain will disappear on its own, but the truth is that chronic pain only worsens over time.
When Does Extreme Tooth Pain Qualify As an Emergency?
There are several problems that can lead to extreme tooth pain. Therefore, it is important to schedule an emergency orthodontist appointment as soon as possible to ensure a rapid diagnosis. Irrespective of the cause of your pain, our friendly, knowledgeable team is standing by to help you resolve your problem. A rapid, accurate diagnosis provides you with the opportunity to seek an effective treatment that will bring about rapid relief.
Typically, it is appropriate to schedule an emergency appointment if your tooth pain is affecting your ability to sleep or eat. Similarly, you should schedule an appointment right away if your tooth is sensitive to temperature or touch.
A Swollen Jaw
You should not take a swollen jaw lightly. You may have a jaw infection. If you have a jaw infection, and you don’t seek immediate treatment, it could move upwards towards your brain. It is also possible that it could traverse to your bloodstream or make its way to your lungs. It is much better to play it safe and have your swollen jaw diagnosed as soon as possible.
Numerous conditions can cause jaw swelling. For example, a tooth abscess or tooth decay may lead to swelling. Alternatively, a salivary gland infection can cause such symptoms as swelling and:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Heavy breathing
- Tenderness and redness
- A bad taste in the mouth
What You Need to Understand About Salivary Gland Infections
When your salivary glands are filled with bacteria, an infection can occur. This bacteria blockage prevents your saliva from breaking down food and bacteria completely, worsening the bacterial infection. Whether your jaw is swollen due to a salivary gland infection or some other cause, it should be diagnosed quickly and accurately by an emergency orthodontist.
A Dental Abscess
We’ve reviewed some other signs of salivary gland infections besides a swollen jaw. Now, we’d like to take a closer look at dental abscesses. There are several other symptoms that accompany a swollen jaw when you have a dental abscess. Abscesses can lead to a fever, pus, swollen glands, and a bad taste in your mouth. Also, the pain associated with the swollen jaw is usually severe. Abscesses are not a condition to be taken lightly.
If you believe you have an abscess, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist right away. Tooth abscesses are most commonly brought about by cavities that have traveled downward and started to discharge. Also, tooth abscesses may be brought about by a tooth injury or gum disease that has not been treated. Tooth injuries cause abscesses because they let bacteria into the sensitive dental pulp of your teeth.
How Can I Tell Whether I Have a Dental Abscess or Salivary Gland Infection?
Dental abscesses and salivary gland infections share a number of symptoms. To tell whether you have a dental abscess or salivary gland infection, it is very important that you come in for a professional diagnosis from an orthodontist. If you have an abscess, the appropriate treatment method will depend on the severity. If you have a moderate abscess, you may only need a round of antibiotics. If you have a severe abscess, it may need to be drained.
Painful or Bleeding Gums
You may feel shocked if you see blood after not flossing for a while. However, this is a common occurrence and a sign of gingivitis developing. If you continue flossing daily and the bleeding stops, you may don’t have gingivitis. It will take a while for your gums to get used to regular flossing if you take a long break. If bleeding continues after consistently flossing for a week or two, you may have gingivitis and need an emergency orthodontist appointment.
Also, you should schedule an immediate appointment if you experience excessive bleeding, inflammation, or soreness. Luckily, gingivitis is fairly easy to treat if it is caught quickly enough. In some cases, you just need a better oral hygiene routine to reverse gingivitis. However, be warned that ignoring gingivitis long enough can cause periodontitis.
What Is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a highly advanced stage of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss and other long-term dental issues if it is not addressed. Besides bleeding, swelling, and extreme pain, you may experience such symptoms as halitosis and pus between your teeth if you suffer from periodontitis. The earlier you catch gum disease, the easier it is to treat. However, it is not too late even if you are experiencing symptoms of periodontitis.
If you’ve been putting off a routine checkup and realize you’ve been suffering from gum issues for months or years, one appointment is all you need to get yourself back on the right track.
A Loose Tooth
It’s normal for children to have loose teeth between the ages of six and 12. However, if you experience loose teeth as an adult, you need to schedule an emergency appointment with an orthodontist.
Loose teeth are not a good sign in adults and need immediate professional attention. We can diagnose the cause of your loose teeth when you come in for an evaluation. Infections and injuries are the most common causes for loose teeth in adults, but there are also other causes that require attention.
Tooth Injuries Can Loosen Teeth
Tooth injuries from any type of trauma can cause loose teeth. However, the most common causes are motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident recently or taken a blow to the face while playing contact sports, you should schedule an evaluation as soon as possible to ensure your teeth were not injured.
It is easy to feel like there is nothing wrong with your teeth because adrenaline can mask pain for several hours after an accident. However, there could be damage to your jaw or your tooth nerves that you don’t notice immediately. It is also possible to not notice a chipped tooth immediately.
Infections Can Loosen Teeth
Infections are another potential cause of loose teeth because infections around or under your teeth can weaken the supportive structures of the teeth. We can identify where an infection is and determine its cause. To get a comprehensive picture of your unique situation, we will conduct an oral exam and take an X-ray. Infections inside the mouth are most commonly caused by gum disease and tooth decay.
For this reason, it is very important to get professional dental cleanings at least twice per year. There is a smaller chance of developing gum disease or tooth decay; if there is a problem, it can be caught while it is still in an early stage and can be repaired easily.
You Get Regular Migraines
Another sign you need an emergency orthodontist appointment is chronic migraines. Several factors can cause headaches, including stress, new medication, and dehydration. However, chronic headaches are commonly caused by dental issues. For example, you may have jaw or tooth pain because you subconsciously grind your teeth. You may just need to wear a retainer at night.
We Are Here to Help
You don’t have to feel concerned about your oral health. We’re here to help. Contact us today at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX if you are experiencing severe tooth pain or another sign you need an emergency orthodontist.