Few things can bring your day or week to a screeching halt like an unexpected dental abscess, but you might be tempted to power through the pain until you can schedule an exam with your regular dentist. Besides being painful and causing serious swelling, however, abscesses can also turn into a medical emergency if ignored for too long; abscesses frequently leave overly patient victims in the hospital. These are four signs that your abscess can no longer wait for a regular appointment and that a visit to the emergency dentist is in order.
You Develop a Fever
Abscesses themselves are not especially dangerous. A localized infection of your tooth or gums may require an extraction to fix, but a routine draining is often enough to cause an infection to subside until further treatment is possible. When left on its own, however, that infection can spread to your face and eventually to your brain, where it becomes a potentially fatal problem. If you notice that you have spiked a fever alongside the abscess, you need to start a course of antibiotics as quickly as possible to keep the infection contained.
You Experience Heavy Swelling
Another sign that the infection is progressing is swelling that will gradually expand from your gums and jaw to the rest of your face and airways. This can make it difficult for you to speak, move your jaw, or even breathe, and this will only get worse if the infection isn't cleared up. Rather than risk being unable to breathe later on, you should take the wiser path and visit an emergency dentist as soon as you notice the first signs of swelling.
You Are Tolerating Severe Pain
For many people, high levels of pain are an automatic cue to head to the nearest emergency room or 24-hour dentist. If, on the other hand, you have been stubbornly braving the discomfort in order to carry on with your daily life, you may end up doing far more harm than good. If over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications seem like they're doing nothing to dull the pain, you are dealing with a medical issue that can only be resolved with professional assistance.
You Feel Confused or Dizzy
As mentioned earlier, dental abscesses are potentially fatal if they are allowed to turn into a brain infection and subsequent abscess. If you have been living with a toothache and swelling for some time, you may begin to show more serious symptoms like dizziness, confusion, headaches, and other signs that your brain is being impacted by the infection. Whenever you experience these symptoms in conjunction with an abscessed tooth, get to an emergency-care provider immediately to ensure that you are given the medical attention you need. Don't let a relatively simple dental condition lead to lasting damage; head to an emergency dentist such as Milan Simanek DDS today before the problem becomes a real emergency.