My husband said his mouth was hurting the other day and he thought he had a canker sore. It’s gotten so bad that he can’t eat anymore. How do we know if it is a canker sore or if it’s a dental infection? Are any of these serious or do they go away on their own?
Both canker sores and dental infections can be very painful. They look very different though. Canker sores are usually flat oval blisters. Dental infections show up as an abscess which looks like a pimple on your gums.
Only one is considered a dental emergency. While canker sores are dreadfully painful, they are a virus and usually clear up within two weeks on their own.
There are over the counter topical anesthetics you can purchase to bring some relief. If it’s not healed in two weeks, that would be the time to see the dentist. Sometimes what people think is a canker sore can actually be the start of oral cancer.
If your husband sees the dentist regularly, his dentist does checks for oral cancers during his appointment, so usually these are just sores.
When It’s a Dental Emergency
If he has an abscessed tooth, that is an emergency. He’ll need to see a dentist right away, both to get rid of the infection and try and save the tooth itself.
Usually, a dentist has to do a root canal treatment in those cases. That will likely also mean a dental crown to protect the tooth.
Don’t let him put this off. These infections spread and can become life-threatening quickly. Men, especially, try to “tough things out”, but if you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain you can perceive the danger.
Believe it or not, people still die from tooth infections even in the 21st century. The tragedy is not just the deaths but how avoidable they are.
This blog is brought to you by the Decatur Dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.