Progressive Conditions That May Require Emergency Dental Care

Posted on: 28 October 2019

Dental emergencies can occur from immediate trauma, such as a blow to the mouth. However, many emergencies are conditions that develop over time.

Here are several progressive conditions that often require emergency dental care.

Gingival Abscesses

An abscess on the gums develops due to an infection. As pus is produced by the infected tissue, a pimple-like swelling or bump presents. This swelling may leak or drain into the mouth. However, the infection that caused the abscess may still spread to other tissues. If left untreated, the infection in the gums may even spread to the jawbone, causing it to atrophy. The infection may also spread to the blood, placing the person's overall health and possibly their life in jeopardy.

Emergency dental services to treat a gingival abscess may include the lysing of the infected area and a prescription for antibiotics.

Pulpal Abscesses

An infection may also develop inside of a tooth. If the enamel of a tooth is breached by decay, bacteria may invade the interior layers of the tooth structure, including the pulp.

The pulp is the soft, innermost layer of the tooth, If infected, it may start to die. Also, the dental nerves that are housed in the pulp may become irreparably damaged, causing chronic pain.

Like a gingival infection, a pulpal infection can spread to the jawbone or become systemic. An emergency dentist may treat the condition with antibiotics. Additionally, they may perform a root canal procedure or an extraction. 


Pericoronitis occurs as inflammation develops around a third molar, or wisdom tooth. The condition develops most frequently when the wisdom tooth is only partially erupted. The hood of gingival tissue that still partially covers the tooth may trap bits of food and plaque, leading to inflammation and possibly an infection.

Symptoms of the condition may include swollen gum tissue, pain, and the presence of pus. The condition may also be accompanied by foul breath. 

To treat the condition, the dentist may surgically remove the flap of gum tissue that is partially covering the tooth. However, since the tissue may grow back in some cases, the dentist may extract the wisdom tooth to permanently rectify the issue. Antibiotics may also be needed. The sooner the condition is treated, the less likely that a serious infection will develop. 

To learn more about dental emergencies that may develop over time, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area.