A swollen jaw is certainly cause for alarm, but if you're not seeking immediate help from a dentist, it could become more than that. Swelling in the jaw typically means you have a dental problem either in a tooth or your jaw, and an emergency dentist is exactly who you should run to when this problem happens to you. Here's what's going on with your face and why it's such a problem.
Why It Swells
The tissues of the body typically only swell up for one reason: a foreign body is attacking. Swelling can be due to an allergy, but it's unlikely to be the trigger of your jaw issue. Instead, the most likely culprit is an infection.
You can get an infection in your jaw in a myriad of ways. If one of your teeth has been damaged recently and experienced a break, it's possible that bacteria got in through your tooth's exposed inner tissues or the root. Alternatively, gum disease can trigger full-fledged infections in the jaw if they're not treated early on.
How It Can Get Worse
If a gum infection can spread from your gums to your jaw, it may not stop there. Gum infections can spread through any tissues they come across, and the bacteria can even make its way into your bloodstream. From there, it can cause all kinds of problems for your cardiovascular system, but long before it does that, it can leave you miserable and in pain.
How to Get Help
If you don't get help for your swollen jaw now, there's no doubt that your problem will get worse. The swelling in your face may increase, and you may begin to develop other symptoms of an infection, like discharge or fever. It's important to get help right now, so go to an emergency dentist.
When you arrive, your dentist will ask you a few basic questions, like how long this has been going on and what all of your symptoms are. They will then perform an exam and may run x-rays to look at the internal structures of your mouth. Once they've determined how large the infection is, they'll begin treatment. Depending on your condition, this treatment will vary. However, you're likely to receive antibiotics, and they may drain the abscess in order to relieve pressure. If you do have severe gum disease, they'll also treat that while you're there.
An infection in the jaw isn't something you should put on the backburner. Get help right away in order to preserve your overall health.