Thankfully, orthodontic emergencies aren’t especially common, and most issues are able to wait until a regular appointment can be scheduled. If you find yourself questioning whether or not you need to visit an emergency orthodontist, Ragan Orthodontics of Dallas, TX, is here to help. While we would be happy to answer your questions when you reach out to us, we’ve also compiled a list of some signs you may be experiencing a dental emergency.
Emergency Orthodontist: When Should You Seek Immediate Help?
Severe Tooth Pain
Some mild tooth pain is a good reason to schedule a regular dental appointment. That way you can be checked over for cavities or gum diseases like gingivitis. If your tooth pain has progressed to the point of being severe or constant, it may be time for an emergency orthodontist appointment.
To avoid your pain reaching emergency levels, we recommend scheduling a regular appointment as soon as symptoms of tooth pain arise. We understand that life is busy, and sometimes it can be easy for patients to convince themselves that the problem may go away on its own. We also know that in addition to worsening chronic pain, sometimes severe tooth pain can pop up seemingly out of nowhere.
When Is Severe Tooth Pain an Emergency?
A lot of problems can cause severe tooth pain, so scheduling that emergency orthodontist visit will ensure that you get the right diagnosis as fast as possible. Regardless of the circumstance, our team is ready to help you tackle the issue. The right diagnosis will allow us to pursue the best treatment and provide you much-needed relief.
In general, if your toothache is interfering with your ability to eat and sleep, or if your tooth is sensitive to touch or temperature, it’s time to set up an appointment.
A Swollen Jaw
A potential infection in your jaw should not be taken lightly. In some rare cases, this infection can move upwards to the brain. Even if it doesn’t travel upwards, any uncontrolled infection can lead to worse issues down the line, especially if the infection travels to the bloodstream or is carried into your lungs. It’s much better to be safe than sorry and to have your swollen jaw checked out as quickly as you can.
There can be many reasons your jaw can swell. Tooth decay and a tooth abscess can both cause swelling. A salivary gland infection can cause this swelling as well and may include other symptoms such as:
- Trouble swallowing
- Redness and tenderness
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Heavy breathing
Understanding Salivary Gland Infections
Infection can set into your salivary glands when the glands are blocked up with bacteria. This blockage stops your saliva from effectively breaking down bacteria and food, which can lead to the infection getting worse. Whether your swollen jaw is caused by this particular infection or a different issue isn’t something you’ll be able to diagnose at home.
A Dental Abscess
We’ve mentioned that dental abscesses can sometimes cause your jaw to swell, but there are other signs to look out for when it comes to abscesses. Abscesses can cause swollen glands, a bad taste to your mouth, pus, and a fever. They are usually quite painful as well. Abscesses are a serious condition. If you suspect you may have one, we recommend setting up an appointment.
A tooth abscess can be caused by a cavity that has traveled down and begun to fester. It can also be caused by untreated gum disease or an injury to the tooth. Tooth injuries can allow bacteria to enter into your tooth’s sensitive dental pulp.
What Are the Symptoms of a Dental Abscess?
Unfortunately, many of the symptoms related to tooth abscesses can overlap with other symptoms. That’s why we’re here to help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your painful symptoms.
If the issue does turn out to be an abscess, treatment will depend on how severe the abscess is. Treatment may call for a round of antibiotics, or you may have to have the abscess drained.
Bleeding or Painful Gums
If it’s been a while since you’ve flossed and you decide to give it a go, you may be startled by the sight of some blood. Bleeding gums can be a sign of developing gingivitis. That said, if you find after flossing more consistently that the bleeding has stopped, it could be your gums just had to get used to being flossed.
While some blood during flossing isn’t considered too abnormal, if your gums bleed excessively or if they are sore and inflamed, it’s time to get that looked into. Gingivitis itself is usually easy enough to treat. Sometimes increased dental hygiene is all it needs to resolve itself. We do caution our patients not to let it go on for too long, though, as gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.
What Is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that can cause long-term dental issues and tooth loss down the road. In addition to pain, swelling, and bleeding, gum disease can also cause symptoms like pus between your teeth and bad breath.
Gum disease caught early is much easier to treat, but we also believe that late is better than never. If you’ve been avoiding an appointment and realize that your gum issues have gone on for too long, reach out to us for an appointment and we will get you set on the right track.
A Loose Tooth
Loose teeth are normal for kids between the age of about six to twelve, but loose teeth in adults are always a cause for concern. They are usually a sign of something that should be addressed right away.
We will be able to better determine the cause when you come to visit us. Some common causes of loose teeth for adults can include a tooth injury or infection.
Tooth Injuries Can Loosen Teeth
A tooth injury can result from any sort of trauma to the tooth, but sports and car accidents are common culprits. If you’ve taken a ball to the face playing sports, or if you’ve been in an accident that could have damaged your teeth, it’s important to have your teeth checked over as soon as possible.
Even if they feel fine at first, there could be hidden damage to the jaw or the nerves of your teeth. It’s also possible to chip a tooth without noticing right away.
Infection May Loosen Teeth
An infection under or around the tooth can cause the structure of your tooth to weaken over time. Our team can help you get a better idea of where the infection is coming from and why it has caused your tooth to loosen. An oral exam or X-ray will be carried out so we can get a full picture of what’s going on.
Infection often stems from tooth decay or an issue with the gums. This is one reason we stress the importance of regular, professional dental cleanings, so you can have gum disease and cavities addressed while they’re still in their early stages.
Persistent Migraines That Have Become the Norm
Patients suffering from consistent headaches may not consider their teeth as a possible cause. There are so many things that can cause headaches, ranging from stress to medication, but chronic headaches can also be a sign of dental issues.
Since teeth are close to the top of your head, jaw or tooth issues can lead to headaches. Some of these causes can be as simple as tooth grinding. You may be grinding your teeth at night without even realizing it. A retainer, or stress reduction practices may be able to help relieve your headaches if grinding your teeth is to blame.
When Should You Seek Out Dental Help for Headaches?
If your headaches are very severe and you have sought out medical help to rule out other potential causes, it might be time to seek out dental care. While grinding your teeth isn’t an emergency, chronic migraines aren’t something that should be ignored. It could be a sign of something more serious.
We may be able to help you find a solution if your headache is caused by a tooth issue.
A Loss of Tooth Sensation
Just like tooth pain can be a sign of trouble, so can teeth that are going numb. If you had a toothache that was causing you pain, and all of a sudden the pain is gone and has been replaced by a tingling or numbness, it could indicate that an infection has reached the root of your teeth.
If this is the case, you may need a root canal to avoid any further damage.
A Metallic Taste in Your Mouth
A bad taste in your mouth could indicate something like an infection. Another thing it can indicate is a damaged filling. If you’ve had a metal filling installed and you’ve begun to taste metal, it could mean that your filling has become loose or may have cracked.
If you suspect or have noticed that your filling is damaged, it may be time to set up an emergency orthodontist appointment. An open filling can be an open invitation to bacteria, which could lead to tooth decay and infection. We will be able to check over your filling and make sure it’s working properly. A damaged filling may need to be replaced entirely.
You’re Struggling With Exhaustion
Like headaches, exhaustion is a symptom that can have so many different causes. That can make finding the right fix extremely challenging. If you’ve tried everything to better your energy levels and still find yourself constantly drained, it could mean your body is fighting something.
Infections can take a big toll on the body, and a body that’s been trying to fight an infection may not have the same energy it used to. We can check your teeth for infection. If an infection is found and treated, you may find that your energy level will improve.
1. Will I Need a Family Dentist to Schedule My Appointment?
Not at all! Many patients believe that a dental referral is necessary before they come in for an orthodontic exam. We do handle many dental referrals, but you are perfectly free to schedule an appointment on your own as well.
2. Can I Take My Child In for an Appointment?
Yes, you can. If you have a packed schedule and want to drop your child off during their appointment, we may be able to allow that as well. We will just ask that you double-check with the clinical technician who will be treating your child beforehand.
3. Why Seek Out an Orthodontic Specialist?
Orthodontic treatment has the ability to permanently change your teeth, and at times your entire facial structure. We have the ability to carry out these involved, individualized treatments due to specialized training and extensive experience.
Our Team Is Ready to Help
If you’re concerned about your dental health, we are here to offer you quality care. Reach out to our team at Ragan Orthodontics of Dallas, TX, today to set up your consultation or appointment.