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Oral Abscesses - Why Are They An Emergency?

If you are experiencing some pain around a tooth and see a swollen area that appears to be draining a white or clear-colored fluid, then you may have a dental abscess. While it may seem as though this ailment can wait until you can see your regular dentist, this is something that requires emergency dental care. If you want to know why an abscess is something that you definitely should not ignore, keep reading.

Infections Spread

Once bacteria multiply enough that they infect the soft tissues of the mouth, you will need antibiotics to kill the microorganisms. And, if you wait to start taking the antibiotics, the infection is likely to spread elsewhere. In particular, the bacteria have access to the vast capillary system that lies within your gum tissues. This system channels blood to the bones in your face and also returns blood to the heart. If bacteria get into the capillaries, then they can end up in your circulatory system at large.

For example, an untreated abscess can lead to a jaw bone or a heart infection. If the bacteria make their way into the larger circulatory system, then a blood infection may develop. This is called sepsis, and it is a serious medical problem that often requires hospitalization. Getting your abscess treated in a timely manner can help you to prevent a multitude of more serious infections.

Symptoms Get Worse

Infections may start off slow with some mild discomfort. This is one reason why you may delay treatment. However, as your body starts to fight off the bacteria and continues to do so over a period of days, symptoms may get worse. Pain can become sharp, and swelling can spread to the jaw, face, ears, sinuses, and neck. A fever may develop and remain for some time. You may start to experience nausea, vomiting, and even diarrhea. And these symptoms can lead to dehydration.

Basically, you will develop a slew of flu-like symptoms that can get worse or remain until you actually have the infection treated. Thankfully, the symptoms will subside once you are able to take antibiotics. The sooner the better, because IV fluids may be necessary if you wait things out a few days and start becoming more ill.

If you want to know more about abscesses, oral infections, and the correct course of action when a suspected infection develops, speak with your emergency care dentist. 

About Me

Every Dentist Needs Your Help Keeping Your Teeth Healthy

When I was a child and teenager, I always left the dentist's office with the great feeling of having no cavities. When I went away to college out-of-state, I had to switch to a new dentist in my area. It seemed like I was suddenly getting cavities and started wonder what my new dentist "was doing wrong". When I spoke to my mother about it, she reminded me that the reason I never had cavities when I was living it home was because she always made sure my siblings and I brushed and flossed daily and didn't eat too much sugar. I then realized that my late-night study sessions drinking sugary soda and my suddenly bad brushing habits were the true causes of my cavities. I have since learned a lot more about dental health I am eager to share with anyone who needs the advice!

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