Dental emergencies are extremely common. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), about two million people a year head to the emergency room for dental pain. More than 40 percent of adults experienced pain in their mouth, and over $45 billion in productivity is lost due to dental emergencies.

If you’re experiencing pain, bleeding, swelling, or other unusual symptoms in your mouth, it’s time to seek urgent dental care before the underlying issues worsen. American dentists say that prevention is key and instead of waiting until you feel pain, it’s best to brush, floss, follow a healthy, nutritious diet, and get your regular appointments with your dentist.

But it’s also a good idea to know signs of dental problems that require an urgent visit to the dentist:

1. Your teeth are loose or fall out

Tooth loss is only normal for children but not adults. If you feel like your teeth are loose, moving around in your mouth, or fall out, you should visit a dental specialist immediately. Periodontal disease is the main reason for these symptoms and if left ignored, it can lead to complete tooth loss and bone loss in your mouth. 

Another possible culprit of tooth loss is osteoporosis that’s common in older people. Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those who don’t have it.

2. You notice pus collecting in your mouth 

If you have any pus in your mouth, call your dentist as soon as possible. Pus collection in a spot in the mouth could be a dental gum abscess that should be treated immediately. It’s an indication of acute infection and can spread if left ignored and lead to serious health complications, including sepsis. 

Bacteria from an abscessed tooth can travel to the brain and can be fatal. Antibiotics, draining the infection, and a root canal are potential treatment options to help prevent life-threatening complications. 

3. You experience jaw swelling or you can’t open your mouth 

Jaw problems should be addressed as soon as possible. If your jaw becomes locked, open, or closed, visit a specialist immediately since they can reset it.

Swelling around your jaw might indicate an infected tooth or a type of growth like a cyst or even a tumor. Difficulty opening or closing, or clicking or popping might indicate TMJ disorder or temporomandibular disorder, provoked by many different things like an uneven bite or high-stress levels. Addressing TMJ problems earlier rather than later can result in easier treatment such as a night guard or braces while more advanced cases may require surgery.

4. Your tongue has changed texture 

Any unexplained changes in your tongue should be looked at by your dentist as soon as possible. Changes in its texture, any lumps, bumps, or sores, or any change in sensation of your tongue would be an indication to go visit your dentist. That’s something we take very seriously since the tongue is one of the most common areas for oral cancer, that’s why it’s essential to get that checked out.

5. You have a bad taste in your mouth 

A constant bad taste that’s not due to something you ate or drank might indicate that something is wrong and warrants an immediate visit. Bad taste could be provoked by gingivitis, oral thrush or yeast infections, respiratory infections like tonsillitis or colds, Hepatitis B, or wisdom teeth coming in.

6. You have tooth numbness 

A lack of sensation in your tooth is also a sign you should have your mouth checked out right now. If your tooth is numb that can be an indication that your tooth may need a root canal. If a tooth is cracked or has a big cavity and the nerve dies that can give you a numb feeling.

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