A tooth abscess is an infection that often requires a prompt visit to the emergency dentistry office. With the lockdown in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, dentists have limited dental procedures to emergency treatment. The extent of pain and swelling typically determines if there is a dental emergency. However, if the abscessed tooth is…
Swollen Jaw Dental Emergency
When is a swollen jaw a dental emergency? If you are noticing swelling in your jaw or cheeks and it is accompanied by a toothache or pain, this is one sign. Dental emergencies are most often caused by trauma to the area or infection, so someone who has recently experienced something that may have caused such a reaction should contact a dentist immediately to get help.
Causes of a swollen jaw
In a dental emergency, a swollen jaw can be caused by a traumatic injury to one or more teeth or the entire jaw. It could be a tooth that was knocked out or fractured, a side effect from a recent tooth surgery, a painful infection from an abscessed tooth, or pericoronitis, the swelling of the gums around a partially erupted wisdom tooth.
Appearance of a swollen jaw
Swelling in the jaw area can manifest in different ways and may or may not be accompanied by pain or a side effect. Swelling can be present on both sides of the jaw or on just one side. It can also appear more prominently under an ear or be more present in the cheeks. Depending on the location of the swelling and any side effects, a dentist can easily determine its source and the cause.
When to call a dentist
Patients should make an emergency call to a dentist if a tooth was knocked out or cracked, and it is causing the jaw to swell. Patients can also call if an infection has manifested or escalated. A dentist can perform a physical exam of the mouth and take an X-ray to determine what the exact cause of the swelling is and how to treat it.
Emergency symptoms of a swollen jaw
Emergency symptoms include having trouble opening the mouth, eating or breathing, or if the patient is in extreme pain or bleeding, has a high fever, or has a head injury in addition to the swollen jaw. Someone experiencing any of these symptoms should seek immediate emergency care.
Treatments for a swollen jaw
After ruling out emergency symptoms, there are a few at-home remedies sufferers can try first before making an emergency call to a dentist. Apply a cold compress to the swollen area and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
If the patient doesn’t see any improvement within 30 minutes or if symptoms worsen, call the dentist. In most cases, they can treat the condition with antibiotics, stronger anti-inflammatory medication or surgery.
Ready to fix your swollen jaw?
If someone is experiencing a swollen jaw, it may be a dental emergency. If a cold compress and anti-inflammatory medicine are not working or if they are suffering severe pain or having trouble breathing, contact 911 or a medical professional immediately. Patients who are not experiencing any pain or severe symptoms can still get an assessment from a dentist to determine what is causing the swelling and get treatment for it.
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