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When To Go To The Er For Tooth Infection

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Swollen Or Bleeding Gums

Dental Pain and Infections in the ER

Although occasional gum irritation is not a dental emergency, gums that wont stop bleeding, especially if accompanied by pain and swelling, can indicate an underlying dental or health issue. It is not normal to experience bleeding gums without any obvious cause. See your dentist right away if youre experiencing these symptoms.

Are Emergency Visits For Dental Pain Covered By Health Insurance

Most health insurance plans will cover emergency room visits for dental pain. To be certain, call your health insurance company before you go to the ER. You will likely have to pay an emergency room copay. Many states also require health insurance plans to cover emergency visits for TMD and CMD disorders. These are conditions that involve the jaw, jaw joint, and the muscles controlling them.

Medical insurance may also cover other dental emergency services. These might include diagnostic procedures, treatment of inflammation, incisions and drainage of abscesses, curettage of periodontal abscesses, medically necessary tooth removal, soft and hard tissue biopsies and extractions, and surgical placement of dental implants.

Your dental insurance will not typically cover other types of dental emergencies. For instance, fillings for cavity treatment and cosmetic issues are not covered. When in doubt, always call your health and dental insurance companies to understand what services are covered.

Common Dental Emergencies And Their First Aid

Some of the most common types of dental emergencies include, but are certainly not limited to, things like the following:

  • A tooth that has been knocked out. If this happens to you, you need to take action quickly. Take the tooth by its crown and rinse it gently. If you can reinsert it into the socket, do it. If you cant, put it in a container of milk. Milks chemical composition is compatible with teeth, so placing your tooth in a glass of milk helps preserve your tooth. Then take it with you to the dentist. If you act fast, theyll likely be able to save it.
  • A chipped or cracked tooth. Clean your mouth with warm clean water, and apply a cold compress to your face to help keep the swelling down. Take a pain reliever and head to the dentist at your first opportunity.
  • An abscessed tooth. This can easily cause worse problems if youre not careful, ranging from a significant toothache to a high fever. Rinse your mouth with mild salt water a few times and see your dentist.

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Can Home Remedies Help Treat A Tooth Infection

While waiting to receive treatment, you can try the following home remedies to help ease symptoms:

  • Try over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen .
  • Eat soft foods, and try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth from where the infection is located.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that may irritate the infected tooth, such as those that are:
  • very hot or very cold
  • acidic

Types Of Tooth Infections & Causes

What To Do if Your Child Has a Tooth Infection

Tooth infections, or dental infections, can range from mild to severe . A cavity can become large enough that it eventually reaches the nerve of a tooth. This allows bacteria to accumulate deeper into the tooth. An infection will start developing over time as the bacteria reach the nerves.

A dental abscess is the most common type of tooth infection. Abscesses develop from a bacterial infection that usually begins in a tooths soft pulp. Plaque, which is a by-product of food particles and saliva, contains cavity-causing bacteria. This bacteria damage your teeth and gums over time, leading to cavity formation.

If a cavity is left untreated and becomes large enough, a dental abscess can form. Neglected oral care, plaque buildup, and diets high in sugar are the leading causes of tooth decay. To prevent tooth infections and cavities, you should:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Rinse with mouthwash before bed
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get professional teeth cleanings every six months

Dental damage can also allow bacteria to spread to deeper parts of the teeth or gums, resulting in an abscess. People with weakened immune systems, diabetes, and those taking certain medications , also have an increased risk of developing a tooth abscess.


A dental abscess is a common tooth infection that can be caused by plaque build-up, untreated cavities, and dental damage, among others.

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How To Pay For Emergency Dental Care

When is a tooth infection an emergency? The short answer is when there is intense sharp pain, or if you can see pus leaking from a tooth or from your gums, you should seek professional care If the pain is so bad that you cant stand it, or if the bad taste in your mouth is extreme, or if you notice that pus is leaking from your tooth you may need emergency care

If you call for an emergency dental appointment or go see a dentist at the first available appointment and you dont have dental insurance your visit could end up costing quite a bit. There are options available to help lower the cost of emergency dental treatment like:

  • Dental insurance: Even if you are careful about your dental hygiene you can develop an abscess tooth. Having dental insurance will help protect you from having to pay huge out of pocket costs to get treatment if you have a dental emergency like an abscess tooth. The last thing you should have to worry about if you have a dental emergency is the cost of treatment. Compare dental plans and youll find there is one that will fit almost any budget. Investing in dental insurance is an investment in your health.

  • Payment plans: Ask the financial manager at the dental practice about financing if you are short on cash. Many practices offer in-house financing options that will give you the opportunity to pay for your treatment in installments to make it easier to afford.

How Can I Tell If My Tooth Infection Has Spread

Untreated infections in your mouth can travel to other areas, including your face, jaw, and neck, which can be life-threatening. Very rarely, infection can travel to your brain. If you have any of the following signs or symptoms along with your tooth pain, get medical help right away:

  • Fever

  • Skin redness or swelling in your neck or face

  • Pain with opening your mouth or touching your jaw or face

  • Sore throat

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When To See A Doctor

A person should see their dentist at the first sign of a tooth infection. Early treatment will help prevent the infection from spreading into other tissues.

A tooth infection that has spread is a medical emergency. Such infections can quickly become widespread and severe. Systemic infections can be life threatening.

A person should contact a dentist for an emergency appointment as soon as possible. If there are no dentists available, a person should visit the emergency department of their nearest hospital.

A dentist or doctor will provide treatments to target the infection and stop it from spreading further.

The type of treatment that a person receives for a tooth infection will depend on several factors, including:

  • the initial location of the abscess
  • whether, and to what extent, the infection has spread
  • the extent of the immune systems reaction to the infection

Possible treatments for a tooth infection include those below.

Er Visits Cost Much More Than A Dental Exam

A Tooth Infection Can Be Deadly â ï¸?Dental Abscess Pus Drainage

One reason many Americans put off regular dental check-ups and cleanings is the rising cost of healthcare in America. Only half of American workers receive dental benefits from their employer, and that number is dropping every year. This has resulted in more and more people opting to forego preventative care in exchange for problem-focused visits, such as a toothache or chipped tooth.

Preventative dental care is an investment against these costly emergencies. One trip to the emergency room could cost as much as several years of regularly scheduled dental exams. Spending that kind of money in a single visit that provided little-to-no relief can be extremely frustrating and strain your finances.

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What Can Happen If A Tooth Infection Is Left Untreated

Can a tooth infection be dangerous?

If a tooth infection is left to its own devices, without treatment it can lead to serious, sometimes dangerous infections. This is why oral hygiene is so important and why if you are having any symptoms of an infected tooth/abscess you should set up a dental exam with one of our offices, in the GTA or at our convenient downtown College Street dentistry office, immediately. In this post well discuss signs you may have a tooth infection and the serious consequences you may suffer if you dont seek timely treatment.

What are some signs of an infected tooth?

Signs of an infection in the mouth include:

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen glands of the neck
  • Swelling in the jaw

Can a tooth infection kill you?

With regular dental care, the answer is probably not, but if an abscess is left untreated it can and does happen. In fact, according to a Journal of Endodontics report, in a study of 61,439 hospitalizations that occurred because of tooth abscesses, 66 patients died as a result of their tooth infection.

According to the Mayo Clinic, in many cases, tooth abscesses are caused by untreated cavities. Its important to practice good oral hygiene and have regular dental check-ups so any issues are caught early before they can develop into something far more serious.

Can a tooth infection go septic?

How does an infected tooth lead to sepsis?

What are symptoms of sepsis?

How Long Does It Take For An Abscess To Develop

Abscesses due to tooth decay can take several months to develop. This is because the can take a while to reach and damage the pulp at the center of a tooth.

Meanwhile, injury or trauma to a tooth may allow bacteria to enter the tooth more quickly. This can happen due to injuries like a cracked or chipped tooth.

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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 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.

How Dentists Treat An Abscessed Tooth

tooth abscess, can

When you seek urgent care for tooth abscess, your dentist will treat it or refer you to an endodontist, a specialist whos trained to work with abscessed teeth. The goal is to drain the infection and try to save the tooth. The procedures involved are very safe and focus solely on your comfort, health, and full recovery.

  • Draining the abscess: After applying anesthesia, your dentist will make a small incision to the affected area, and use suction to drain the abscess. In rare cases, dental surgery may be required.
  • Root canal: The best way to save your tooth is to perform a root canal. This involves drilling into your tooth to clean the pulp and the root canals that go down into your gums. After filling the empty spaces, youll either get a tooth filling or a crown. In both cases, your restored tooth will look and feel just like all your other teeth.
  • Tooth extraction: If your tooth cannot be saved, your dentist or endodontist will remove the affected tooth. They will then discuss options to replace your missing tooth and fix your smile. This may include dental implants.

After the procedure, you may be prescribed antibiotics, especially if the infection has spread beyond the jaw area. Apply a warm, moist compress to the area to help keep swelling down, and rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times per day to stimulate local blood flow and help relieve pain.

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Can I Go To The Hospital For Wisdom Tooth Pain

Emergency tooth extraction is rarely necessary, but you may need to have a root canal treatment to save your tooth. Partially erupted wisdom teeth can be a cause of swelling, pain, tenderness, and an unpleasant taste. If you experience symptoms in the area of a wisdom tooth, see your dentist for evaluation immediately.14 Sep 2014

Safety Procedures At Yonge Eglinton Dental

We understand that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still reluctant to visit their dentist out of concern for their health and well-being. Although remote treatment options are available, some dental procedures, such as treating an abscessed tooth, can only be carried out in the office.

To help relieve your concerns and protect the health of our patients and staff, Yonge Eglinton Dental has implemented strict infection control protocols that meet or exceed guidelines set out by the provincial government and our regulatory bodies.

If youre still unsure about visiting our office, especially if you suspect you have an abscessed tooth, please call us to discuss your concerns right away. An infected tooth needs to be treated as soon as possible before it has a chance to seriously impact your overall well-being.

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Can You Treat A Tooth Infection Without Antibiotics

There are ways to relieve the pain and swelling associated with your infected tooth. Saltwater rinses with or without baking soda, hydrogen peroxide rinses, and cold compresses can all help with these symptoms. See a dentist right away if you have any symptoms, because an infection is unlikely to go away without treatment.

A cavity can be filled, and pulpitis can also be treated with a dental procedure. You may not need antibiotics. But depending on how bad the infection is, you might need a root canal or removal of the tooth.

If you have an abscess, it needs to be drained. Your dentist will probably also prescribe antibiotics to get rid of any bacteria that are still in the area.

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Treatment For A Tooth Infection

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There are many ways for your dentist to treat a tooth infection. The type of treatment depends on several factors, like to what extent the infection has spread, and the initial location of the abscess. Read further as we explain the possible different treatment for a tooth infection.

Root Canal Treatment: It may be necessary to receive a root canal treatment. This can help treat abscesses deep inside the tooth. The procedure requires the dentist to drill into the tooth and remove the pocket of pus and bacteria at the root of the tooth. Once finished, the dentist will fill the space with a material called gutta-percha. After the tooth is healed, the dentist can restore the tooth with a crown, or a filling to prevent an infection from happening again.

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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

Dental Pain: Can It Wait Or Is It An Emergency

Anyone who has ever suffered through tooth pain knows the warning signs a bit of sharp pinch when biting down, a dull ache after drinking a cold liquid, a throb after chewing gum. But in the midst of COVID-19, when does dental pain mean you should call for an appointment or head to the emergency room?

To help navigate through the decision, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry has set up a dental information hotline at 713-486-4000.

Unexpected dental problems can and do occur but, for some patients, they have nowhere to turn for help, said John Valenza, DDS, dean of UTHealth School of Dentistry. During this difficult time, in addition to serving any urgent needs for patients of record, we wanted to be a resource for the community who need information or guidance.

The American Dental Association has provided examples of elective versus urgent and emergent treatment. Dentists are advised to defer non-urgent care, but continue to see patients for acute dental issues to keep them out of emergency rooms when possible.

Life-threatening emergencies, such as maxillofacial trauma, uncontrolled bleeding from the mouth, or facial swelling that crosses the midline or impacts breathing or speaking, need to be treated as emergencies and require attention by oral and maxillofacial surgeons in a hospital setting.

What is urgent?

The following are examples of urgent dental conditions requiring prompt treatment, but usually not a trip to the ER:

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What Is A Dental Abscess

Dental abscesses are pockets of pus that occur as the result of a bacterial infection in your tooth. Theyre often the result of an untreated cavity and can occur on different areas of the tooth.

One sign of an abscessed tooth is a small, spongy bump that has appeared on your gum. If it oozes liquid pus when you press it, thats a sure-fire sign that you have an abscessed tooth.

However, just draining the pus away doesnt cure the condition you still need to seek urgent care for tooth abscess, preferably when you first notice the signs of a tooth infection.

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