When is a tooth infection or a tooth abscess reason to go to the emergency room? When a minor infection goes from mild discomfort to a throbbing pain with swollen gums, it’s time to go to Medco ER & Urgent Care in Plano, TX. A tooth infection or an abscessed tooth can quickly become a life-threatening condition if left untreated.
“Any time you are experiencing tooth pain, you can come to see us and we will help you right away,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “It’s not always possible to get in to see your dentist at a moment’s notice, but we can help treat the infection, get bleeding under control, reduce pain, and address tooth fractures while you wait for further dental procedures.”
Symptoms of Tooth Infection
A tooth abscess has very noticeable symptoms including:1
- Sore gums next to the tooth
- Discoloration of gums next to the tooth
- Swollen gums
- Swollen cheek
- Bleeding gums
- Pain, throbbing toothache that can include the jaw and neck
- Loosened tooth
- Bad taste in mouth
- Inability to chew
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Accelerated heart rate and breathing
“Emergency symptoms include difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, and swelling of the jaw and face. These are warning signs that the infection is spreading, which can be very dangerous,” said Dr. Kahn. “The body could go into sepsis, which requires emergency medical intervention.”
Causes of Tooth Pain
Tooth abscesses are most commonly caused by cavities that have spread down to the sensitive root tip of the tooth where the soft pulp contains the nerve bundle. A pocket of pus can collect there and can involve the blood supply to the tooth which then can spread the infection throughout the body if left untreated. Or, the infection can be next to the tooth and involve more of the gums, causing them to swell and discolor.
There are 3 main causes of tooth abscesses: poor oral hygiene, high sugar diet, and dry mouth which can be caused by certain medications or aging.1 Additionally, tooth pain and infection can result from cracks or fractures to the tooth’s enamel or injury to the tooth.
Treatment of Tooth Infection
Your board-certified physician at Medco ER & Urgent Care will diagnose your tooth pain through examination and possibly by taking an X-ray. Infection will be treated with antibiotics, possibly administered intravenously, and bleeding will be stopped.
Prevention of Tooth Abscess
Good oral hygiene is your best defense against tooth infections. Brush 2 to 3 times a day and floss each day to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Salt water rinses and hydrogen peroxide can help cut down on the amount of bacteria attacking the teeth and gums. Use fluoridated toothpaste and drinking water. Eat healthy foods and avoid snacks between meals, especially sugary snacks.1 Visit your dentist regularly. Replace your toothbrush 3 to 4 times a year.
Get help at Medco ER & Urgent Care
When your tooth pain is getting worse and your gums are swollen, come to Medco ER & Urgent Care right away for quality medical treatment. We are open 24/7 every day of the year because we know that tooth infections can crop up any time day or night. We can help you start to feel better again by reducing the infection and easing the pain.
- Plano location:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000