What do you picture when you hear the words “dental emergency?” You probably think of a tooth that has been decayed, broken, or knocked out of the mouth entirely, but what about facial swelling? It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but this symptom is often a warning sign that you have a dental crisis that needs immediate attention. This post explores why seeing an emergency dentist for facial swelling could end up saving your smile.
What Causes Facial Swelling?
There are many reasons why parts of the face can become swollen. While it’s not always the case, it is often the side effect of a severe dental issue that needs to be treated quickly. As long as the swelling isn’t making it difficult to breathe or swallow (which would indicate a life-threatening problem that should be taken to the emergency room), you should see an emergency dentist right away so they can narrow down the cause.
Sometimes the swelling could point to a tooth abscess. When bacteria enter the gums or the roots of the teeth, the result is an often very painful infection that is typically accompanied by pus. Such infections do not go away on their own and require professional care before they manage to spread to other parts of the body. On rare occasions, a tooth abscess can lead to a potentially fatal condition called sepsis.
Another common cause of swelling is a salivary gland infection. Your salivary glands are in your cheeks and are responsible for producing saliva. If they become infected, severe pain and swelling can ensue. Note that depending on the cause of your infection, your dentist might refer you to an appropriate specialist such as a nose or throat doctor.
What Can You Expect During Your Emergency Visit?
When you go to your dentist’s office for facial swelling, they’ll take X-rays and carefully examine your face, teeth, gums, and other oral structures for a possible cause. The treatment will depend on the situation. For an abscessed tooth, the dentist might drain the infected area of pus, or they might perform a root canal or an extraction depending on the severity of the damage. For salivary gland infections, antibiotics may be prescribed, or the dentist might have to remove parts of the glands. Each treatment plan will be carefully customized to account for the patient’s needs.
Facial swelling might not sound like a major problem at first, but if it becomes particularly large and is accompanied by persistent pain, you shouldn’t lose any time in calling your emergency dentist. They can address the issue long before it turns life-threatening, and they’ll make it possible to go through your days without pain again.
About the Practice
At Meadowbrook Dental Care in Mineola, we give all of our patients the time and attention they deserve. Our comprehensive menu of dental services allows us to treat many different dental emergencies, including abscessed teeth and salivary gland infections. If you have concerns about facial swelling or suspect you might have an oral infection of some kind, call our office right away at (516) 284-1234. You can also contact us via our website.