How can I manage severe dental infection before seeing an emergency dentist?

Sherwood Park Dental - Patient with a tooth infection

If you find yourself in the throes of a dental infection, you should not look for ways to delay treatment. Sometimes, if patients find themselves fearful of having the tooth touched at all due to the pain they’re experiencing, they can allow a toothache to progress for far too long. Doing so, they often find themselves faced with finding an emergency dentist in Sherwood Park outside of normal clinic hours. In this case, rather than seeing their regular dentist, they will be put in the position of frantically typing “walk-in dentist near me” into Google and crossing their fingers that a local dentist is open evenings. While in the daytime, Google searches like “best dentist near me” or simply “dentist near me” would likely return several available dental clinics in Sherwood Park, they may need to travel outside of Sherwood Park to find treatment in the evening.

Identifying an Infection

Dental infections can come on quickly and persist until treatment. At Salisbury Dental, we advise our clients to call us for an emergency appointment any time trauma or suspected infection causes pain that cannot be managed by ibuprofen alone. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, and dental infections can spread to other parts of the body so they should be seen by a Sherwood Park Dentist as soon as possible.

You may have a bad taste in your mouth if you have an infection, and it likely hurts to chew or open and close the jaw (particularly if the infection is in the molars or wisdom teeth). You may find a lump forming under the gums. This is referred to as an abscess, and it’s an indication that your body is fighting an infection inside the tissues. As an abscess fills with pus and fluid, the pressure it causes can increase the pain you’re feeling. Your Sherwood Park dentist may drain the infection and/or you may be prescribed some antibiotic medication to get the infection under control. Not all dental infections result in tooth extraction, but your dentist may perform a root canal to ensure that your infection is fully cleansed from the tooth.

In the time that you have before your emergency appointment, we recommend saline rinses for the mouth of slightly warm water (or as warm as is comfortable). If your abscess erupts and begins to drain, you may feel some relief from the pressure. Continue to rinse your mouth with saline to flush the drainage. A frozen bag of small vegetables like corn, peas or diced carrots are ideal for wrapping in a cloth and placing on the outside of the cheek. The vegetables will sit more comfortably against your cheek and jaw than a rigid ice block.

Infection Prevention

The best way to prevent dental infections is to ensure that you and your family are up to date on routine check-ups and cleanings at the dentist. If your household does not currently have a dentist, there is a diversity of dental care for families in Sherwood Park, whether you need a pediatric dentist, family dentist or general dentist. Remember that the way that you care for your teeth between visits is also a big factor in infection prevention.

What is a pediatric dentist?

In Sherwood Park, a pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in, and cares for, exclusively children and youth. Once your child is between 18 and 21, your pediatric dentist will want to discharge them back to a general or family dentist for further care. Pediatric dentists treat a large number of children with special needs and may offer sedation dentistry as part of their services to those who require it.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?      

While a pediatric dentist sees your child until they are of age, a family dentist can begin to see your child at any age and will hope to see them for as long as possible. A family dentist is an expert at treating the whole family, from toddlers to adults and even into their golden years.   

What is a family dentist and how do they differ from a general dentist?

A family dentist and a general dentist have the very same qualifications to practice in Alberta. Some generalists prefer to work primarily with adults, while family dentists put strong focus on treating children, the elderly, and family members with special needs.

How often should I take my family to the dentist?                     

Unless your dentist indicates otherwise, it is generally recommended that children and adults be seen every six months. Children can develop decay much faster due to their thin coating of enamel, so this is an emphasized recommendation for those with baby teeth.

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