Is a Tooth Abscess a Dental Emergency, and Should You Seek Urgent Care?

Is a Tooth Abscess a Dental Emergency, and Should You Seek Urgent Care?

Nov 03, 2021

Taking care of your teeth is a lifelong commitment. You most probably know that teeth are sturdy, but they need proper care to last a lifetime. But if you are cavalier about your dental hygiene, you will find yourself dealing with a myriad of dental issues, and you will need to seek urgent dental care.

Bacterial infection almost always will occur when you don’t practice proper oral hygiene. If you miss your dental appointments and you clean your teeth sporadically, you might have abscessed teeth.

When you have abscessed teeth, seeking prompt care will make all the difference since this is a severe infection that can spread throughout the body.

What Causes a Tooth Abscess?

A dental abscess is a term that refers to a collection of pus around and in a tooth. It is always caused by a dental infection or due to gum disease. When your body tries to fight the infection, it sends an inflammatory response, which causes a buildup of cells at the affected area leading to excruciating pain.

The abscess that forms inside the tooth is called an endodontic infection. It will affect the blood vessels and the nerves within the tooth. Endodontic infections are caused by cracks, large cavities, and trauma. In most cases, if the infection is not treated, it will spread to the tooth root and can infect the bone.

When the infection begins in the bone surrounding the tooth and the gums, it is called a periodontal infection. So, gum surgery may be needed when you have a periodontal infection, and endodontic infections need root canal therapy.

Is a Tooth Abscess an Emergency?

Yes! It doesn’t matter if you have an endodontic or periodontal infection; when left untreated, it will spread. This is why you need to visit our emergency dentist when you realize that you have an abscessed tooth.

The infection will spread outward in most scenarios and form a pus pocket (fistula) that can drain and release the pressure. You might not feel any pain when you have this type of abscess.

But if the infection spreads inward, then you will have a severe problem in your hands. It might leak into your bloodstream; a condition referred to as septicemia. When the infection spreads to the tissue under your tongue, your airways can be blocked.

Even worse is if the infection reaches the brain. In any case, the infection spreading can cause more harm. Prompt care provided by our emergency dentist will ensure that the condition doesn’t spread.

Therefore, you need to get promptly checked when you notice that you have the signs of a dental abscess. Always assume that an abscess is a dental emergency since you cannot tell how the infection can spread if left untreated.

So, when you get to our office, our dentist will use prescription antibiotics to help curb the infection. If the case is severe, our dentist may need to administer the antibiotics intravenously. Also, you will need to undergo incision and drainage, which is a procedure designed to open the swelling to drain the pus.

But, never try to drain or pop an abscess at home. You will worsen it since you don’t have sterile equipment and can introduce bacteria into your mouth.

Will Urgent Care Drain the Tooth Abscess?

You can also decide to urgent care and receive medical care. However, the doctors can only help you if the underlying cause of the abscess is health-related. Plus, it is the best option to get urgent care if the swelling from your toothache has spread to different parts of your face, especially below your jawline and eye.

But, in most cases, ER doctors will only prescribe medication, and then you will need to book an appointment with our dentist to get the abscess drained. A dentist will provide proper treatment for an abscessed tooth.

Let Us Help

Swellings on your gums are a severe issue. A dental abscess is always considered a dental emergency, and prompt care will ensure that the infection doesn’t spread. Plus, proper dental care can only be found in a dental practice. Try and avoid going to urgent care or emergency rooms if possible. Contact us today at AZ Healthy Smiles for proper dental care.