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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

If you are a senior considering dental implants, you may have to worry about issues other dental patients don't have to think about. For example, you may need more time to recover after receiving your implants. My name is Jodi, and I've been working with seniors for years. I decided to create this blog to help the seniors I can't meet in person. In this space, I'm going to post entries on everything related to dental implants and seniors. From tips on flossing implants after arthritis has claimed some of your dexterity, to guiding you through the implants-vs-dentures debate, this blog is designed for you. Thanks for reading. I hope you find what you need!



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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

Why, When And How To Seek Emergency Treatment For Dental Abscesses

by Jimmy Carter

Unexpected pain or bleeding in any part of your mouth should never be neglected, and even the most seemingly benign of dental maladies should be treated sooner rather than later before they can get worse. However, some dental problems are dangerous (not to mention painful) enough to merit immediate emergency treatment, and dentists specialising in emergency dental treatment should always be consulted immediately in these situations.

If you've ever had a dental abscess, you might not have considered it important enough to warrant immediate treatment -- however, some advanced abscesses can become enormously painful and debilitating problems, and more than merit immediate emergency attention.

What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is a small, unusual swelling that can occur anywhere in the mouth, from the insides of the cheeks to the bases of your teeth. This swelling is formed by a bacterial infection within the tissues of your mouth, and is distinguished from other causes of dental swelling by the large amount of pus (dead white blood cells) it contains.

Most dental abscesses are fairly innocuous during the early stages of their growth, and even larger abscesses are not always painful. However, if allowed to grow unchecked a dental abscess can cause serious health problems; the abscess may rupture and leave you open to further infection (not to mention a mouthful of nasty pus), or the infection that caused the abscess may spread to different parts of the body to cause dangerous, systemic illnesses. 

If your abscess is painful, this pain can worsen to the point where eating, drinking and even speaking are affected. The distinctive, throbbing pain can also disrupt your sleep patterns, and can spread to other parts of your face, such as the cheek and jaw, even if these areas are not affected by the abscess itself. This phenomenon is referred to as deferred pain.

When should I seek emergency treatment for a dental abscess?

Generally speaking, abscesses are slow to grow and can be lanced and removed relatively swiftly, and booking a non-emergency appointment with your dentist will usually see the problem solved before it becomes appreciably worse. However, there are circumstances under which you should seek immediate treatment for a dental abscess:

  • Significant pain which affects your day-to-day activities, even if the pain can be controlled with painkillers
  • Profuse bleeding, especially if the abscess has ruptured; ruptured abscesses do not heal swiftly, and you may require stitches to reverse the damage
  • Discharge of pus, which can also signify a ruptured abscess
  • A more generalised sense of illness, particularly flu-like symptoms; this can signify that the infection has spread to other areas of the body, and can constitute a medical emergency as well as a dental one.

If any of these symptoms apply to you, you should see an emergency dentist to have the abscess treated as soon as you possibly can. Emergency dentists have a wide variety of ways to deal with these unpleasant growths -- smaller abscesses can often be lanced and drained using minimally invasive techniques, and will heal up in a matter of days. However, more advanced abscesses may require sterner measures, such as root canal treatment or surgical excision of the infected soft tissues. Your dentist will also provide you with antibiotics to fight the bacterial cause of the abscess, a necessary step to prevent the illness from spreading.