What starts off in your mouth as a small pain or problem, can take a serious turn for the worse if left untreated. A 9-year study published in the Journal of Endodontics reports more than 61 thousand people in the United States were hospitalized primarily due to an abscess in their mouth.
"Your mouth becomes swollen, its hard to open, sometime infections specially on the top teeth can travel towards the eye and those become serious, sometimes life threatening situations," Said Sarasota pediatric dentist, Si McAninch.
These are the warning signs and symptoms that you may need to seek immediate medical attention, he cautioned. "Most of the time it starts off as some small pain, you wonder if its food that is caught between your teeth or something but then, it gets worse and worse and it might not get swollen or seriously infected for quite some time."
He added that people get lulled into a false sense of security, wait too long and think the pain will just go away. The two biggest reasons people seek emergency oral medical attention are infections and trauma. And it happens more frequently than you may think.
Director of the E.R. at Doctor's Hospital of Sarasota, Marilee Arnold, R.N. said "In any given year we probably have maybe five percent to ten percent of patients come in with some sort of dental emergency, that would cover infection broken teeth, the whole spectrum of dental emergencies."
A pain in your mouth left untreated can develop swelling which can lead to an abscess in your mouth. "You can also, if it continues to untreated, end up with a system wide infection, an infection that goes to your blood, it goes to other areas in your body which could potentially lead to a life threatening infection where you need to be admitted to the hospital"
Infections are treated with antibiotics and there is pain medication that can help, but when it comes to your mouth, this, said Dr. McAnich may be the best way to stay out of the E.R. "Keeping your teeth nice and clean and healthy and going to the dentist every six months, and identifying a problem when you're aware of it."