Slowing the spread of the coronavirus requires everyone to limit how much time they are spending outside of their homes. Unfortunately, a dental emergency is a situation that requires going out and getting assistance. But how do you determine if you have a serious dental issue and not something that can wait? Read on to find out about the six warning signs that suggest you might need immediate care from an emergency dentist in St. John.
1. Constant, Overwhelming Toothaches
When a toothache becomes so severe that it gets in the way of your daily life, that’s when you know you need to call your dentist. Toothaches like these are usually caused by an infection. Bacteria have likely entered the interior of your tooth and are attacking the nerve inside it. Your dentist may need to perform a root canal or extract the tooth entirely to stop the infection from doing more damage.
2. Red, Inflamed Gums
Healthy gums have a pink color. When they become dark red and enlarged, it’s a sign that something is wrong in your mouth. If your gums also bleed frequently, you might be suffering from advanced gum disease. This disease can cause permanent damage to the gum tissue and bone in your mouth, so it’s important to see a dentist as soon as you notice these symptoms.
3. Visible Cracks
Small chips on the surface of your tooth don’t require immediate treatment. However, if you see that your tooth has fractured or split open, you need to visit a dentist. A cracked tooth provides an opening for bacteria to start an infection inside it.
4. Swollen Areas
The location of swelling can indicate different emergency issues. If you find a swollen area near the base of your teeth, that’s an indication of a bacterial infection that has reached the root of your tooth. Swelling can also be present around your jaw. In this case, your salivary glands may be blocked by debris or bacteria. It’s important to have both of these issues treated immediately.
5. Sores That Won’t Heal
It’s normal to have an occasional ulcer in your mouth, as they can be caused by stress or accidents while brushing your teeth. However, they should heal in a healthy mouth within two weeks of appearing. When they don’t, it’s an indication that your body is having trouble protecting your mouth. Open sores leave you vulnerable to infections. Furthermore, certain kinds of sores may actually be a sign of oral cancer, so you should notify your dentist when you find they aren’t healing.
6. A Metallic Taste In Your Mouth
For people with older metal crowns in their mouths, a metallic taste can be a bad sign. It may indicate that the crown has broken apart. You’ll need to get to your dentist as soon as possible to replace the crown and prevent bacteria from attacking the remaining tooth structure.
The COVID-19 crisis doesn’t require you to suffer in silence with dental pain. Having any one of these symptoms is a clear sign that you have a serious dental problem and that you should call your emergency dentist in St. John for assistance.
About the Author
Dr. Scott Kapers has been practicing dentistry for over 25 years. He completed his undergraduate work and attended dental school at Indiana University. During emergency care, he utilizes sedation dentistry to make the treatment experience pain free. If you think you may have a dental emergency, you can reach out to him on his website or at 219-322-9920.